Knee osteotomy

Surgery to repair damaged bones in your knee joint

About knee osteotomy

The bones and smooth cartilage of your knee joint can be worn away as a result of degenerative conditions such as arthritis.

When the cartilage wears unevenly, it narrows the space between your thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia), causing your knee to bow inward or outward.

Knee osteotomy involves removing or adding a wedge of bone in your upper shinbone or lower thighbone.

This straightens the bowing and shifts your weight to the undamaged part of your knee joint – prolonging the life of your knee

Knee osteotomy is usually offered to patients who are active and younger than 60.

Depending on the location of your injury, surgery might involve your shinbone or your thighbone. The most common form of knee osteotomy involves the shinbone.

Different types of knee osteotomy:

How knee osteotomy is carried out

You are usually given a general anesthetic (you will be asleep for the operation)

The surgery takes one to two hours..

Opening wedge osteotomy: your surgeon removes a wedge from your thigh or shin bone. They then bring together the cut edges of bone and fix them in place with metal hardware.

Closing wedge osteotomy: your surgeon cuts across the bone, opens a gap, fills it with bone graft and fixes the bone in place with a plate and screws.

Your surgeon then closes the cuts in your skin with stitches and applies a dressing.

After knee osteotomy

You will usually be able to go home the following day after your surgery.

After two weeks, your stitches will be removed, and you will be seen in the clinic again after six weeks for an X-ray and a consultation with your surgeon.

You will be given a knee brace to wear for the first four weeks.

To prevent you putting full weight on your knee, you will need to use crutches for six to eight weeks.

Full movement is encouraged as soon as possible and you will be given physiotherapy exercises to build strength and stability as the bone heals.

You will normally be able to drive six weeks after surgery, although if you have an automatic car, you may be able to drive sooner. .

The bone gradually heals in the six to 12 months following surgery, by which time, you should be able to return to all normal activity.

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Published: 10 December 2019 | Review: 10 December 2022

Disclaimer: This information is published by Cromwell Hospital and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence and experience from over 30 years of treating patients. It has been peer reviewed by Cromwell Hospital doctors. The content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional. If you have any feedback on the content of this patient information document please email or telephone 020 7460 5901.