Tibial osteotomy

An osteotomy of the shin bone (tibia) may be indicated in patients with excessive varus (bow legged) alignment of the knee and pain on the inside of the knee from overload. It can be used to delay the need for joint replacement surgery in some individuals with isolated medial (inside) arthritis.

The aim of the operation is to change the plumb line of the leg so that it does not put as much force and pressure on the painful part of the knee.

There will be a scar on the inside of the knee, the bone is fixed internally with a plate and screws which are able to hold the osteotomy in place while it heals. The metal work will normally have to be removed after the bone has healed at around 12-18 month post op.

The operation normally requires a general or spinal anaesthetic and one night stay in hospital. You can weight bear fully on the leg post operatively but with the aid of elbow crutches. The normal recovery time to full function is in the region of 12 weeks.

Before the operation it is important to stop smoking as it is well recognised that smoking has a negative impact on bone healing and can contribute to delayed and non union (healing) of the bone.