In an osteotomy surgery, a bone is cut, shortened or reshaped to reduce the stress on a joint. Osteotomy surgery may be recommended for patients suffering from osteoarthritis. An osteotomy is particularly useful for younger patients who are more active and who want to delay a hip or knee replacement surgery. The procedure shifts weight away from damaged cartilage to an area of a joint where the cartilage is healthier.
For example, in an osteotomy for osteoarthritis in a knee joint where cartilage in the inner part of the knee is breaking down, the surgeon cuts bone from the outside of the tibia. As a result, body weight is tilted away from the damaged inner knee to the stronger outer knee, spreading weight more equally across the joint. Osteotomy of the hip joint can also be an effective treatment.
The length of recovery after an osteotomy surgery depends on the type of surgery and the general health and age of the patient. A cast or stint may be applied to stabilize the joint for a period of time, and physical therapy begins shortly after the surgery is complete.
Patients with osteoarthritis who are considering an osteotomy surgery can find state-of-the-art care at the Orthopaedic & Arthritis Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH).
Osteotomy surgery and other options for osteoarthritis treatment at BWH
By pioneering osteoarthritis research and therapeutic techniques, The Osteoarthritis Center at BWH has become a leading provider of osteoarthritis diagnosis and treatment for thousands of patients each year. Physicians at the Center collaborate with clinicians and researchers from a variety of other disciplines – including rheumatologists, orthopaedic specialists, physical therapists, pain management specialists and bone and joint radiologists – to optimize care for patients and to research new techniques for joint preservation.
Surgery options for osteoarthritis at BWH may include arthroscopy, joint repair or joint replacement, and cartilage repair or regeneration, in addition to osteotomy. Non-surgical procedures include anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone treatments, physical therapy, bracing and orthotics and help with weight loss and nutrition.
Comprehensive arthritis treatment
In addition to osteotomy surgery for osteoarthritis, BWH physicians also provide comprehensive services for all arthritis and joint diseases, including: