If you have pain in one of your knees due to arthritis, you may have difficulty doing things you love to do like play sports or work out. You might manage the pain successfully for a time, but eventually, knee surgery might be necessary. You may want to talk to a knee surgery specialist about the type of surgery that's right for you. A knee osteotomy is one possibility. Here's how this surgery differs from a knee replacement and why it might be a good choice.
A Knee Osteotomy Doesn't Damage Knee Tissue
The knee osteotomy procedure doesn't involve work on your knee. Instead, the surgery is done on one of the bones above or below your knee. Your surgeon determines whether the shin bone or thigh bone is used, and then part of the bone is removed or a graft is added to the bone and your knee is spared any damage.
A Knee Osteotomy Shifts Weight Bearing
Osteoarthritis is caused by wearing down of the cartilage in your knee. If you have an abnormality in your gait or in the shape of your knee, you might put all your weight on one side of the knee joint. This causes the cartilage to wear down in one area while the remaining cartilage is not harmed.
The osteotomy procedure doesn't replace worn cartilage. Instead, it shifts the balance of your knee so when you walk, your weight is distributed over the cartilage that is still healthy and away from the worn-down part of your knee.
You'll Have Full Use Of Your Knee
One advantage of having a knee osteotomy over a knee replacement is that you'll have full, natural use of your knee once you've healed. You'll even be able to play impact sports, jump, and play basketball. If you're active and play a lot of sports, then you'll get several more years of use from your knee before you need a knee replacement that limits your activities.
Recovery Can Take Months
Whether you have part of your bone removed or a bone graft added, the surgeon has to cut through your bone and essentially break it. That means you'll need to heal your broken bone, and that could take months, and you'll probably need crutches for several weeks.
During your initial recovery, you may need to keep your leg in a continuous passive motion machine so your knee is constantly moving. After that, you may need to wear an ice pack around your knee to help control swelling.
Physical therapy is an important part of your recovery so when you heal, you heal properly and with muscles that are in balance and strong enough to provide good knee support.
A knee surgery specialist can help you decide if this type of knee surgery is right for you based on your age and level of activity. If staying active and having full use of your knee is important to you, then this surgery might be better than a knee replacement if your knee specialist agrees that you're a good candidate for the procedure.