The ends of the bones forming the knee are coated with a structure similar to the smooth paint on the wall. This is known as articular cartilage. This structure prevents undue friction and resultant wear between the two surfaces.
When the articular cartilage of one half of the knee joint is eroded, the underying bony surfaces rub against each other. With lapse of time, this erosion causes a deformity whereby the leg starts deviating towards the other leg (the more common varus deformity) or away from the other leg (the less common valgus deformity).
Joint Realignment (Osteotomy) aims at accurately correcting this deformity by making predetermined cuts in the leg bone (tibia) and then fixing this correction with a special low profile plate. As a result, forces across the joint are made to pass through areas of healthy cartilage and not through affected bone. One can thus recreate a biomechanically normal knee. Remember, this surgery is limited to those patients who have one section i.e. half the knee affected.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Patients are admitted generally a day prior to the procedure. Scans and blood tests are conducted to determine the amount of deformity, correction to be achieved and the fitness of the patient for surgery. The surgical incision is typically 3-5cm along the inner aspect of the knee with a surgical time of approximately an hour. The patient wakes up painfree with a bandage around the knee. Rehabilitation comprising non weight bearing crutch support walking and knee mobilisation starts the very next day. Patients are discharged a day or two after surgery. Stitches are removed at approximately two weeks. They are expected to walk with support for 6-8 weeks and follow range of motion and muscle strengthening exercises. Normal walking is achieved by 10-12 weeks.
Patients return to unrestricted activity after this surgery. With the right indications, this procedure thus caters to the young, high demand arthritic patient.