An osteotomy, also known as “bone cutting,” involves removing part of the lower leg bone to realign the knee and reduce pressure on the joint. The procedure is often used on younger people with early arthritis who want to avoid full knee replacement for as long as possible.
An osteotomy is often recommended when a patient has damaged cartilage on one part of the knee joint and healthier cartilage on the other. A small wedge of bone is cut from the upper part of the tibia, which is the front lower leg bone. In some cases, a wedge of bone can be added to the tibia instead. Both methods are used to realign the knee joint, remove pressure from the damaged area, relieve pain, and restore balance.
The two methods of osteotomy are the open wedge and the closing wedge osteotomy. In the open wedge osteotomy, the surgeon makes an incision on the inside of the knee and places a bone graft into the tibia. In the closing wedge osteotomy, an incision is made on the outside of the knee and a small wedge of bone is removed from the tibia. In both cases, a metal plate and screws and used to hold the cut pieces of the tibia together so they can fuse and heal.
Both procedures are used to reduce or alleviate pain in the knee and reduce ongoing damage to the cartilage.