High Tibial Osteotomy (HTO) is a surgical procedure performed to treat certain conditions affecting the knee, such as osteoarthritis, where there is uneven distribution of weight on the knee joint. The goal of HTO is to realign the bones in the lower leg to relieve pain and improve joint function. This procedure is typically considered for younger, active individuals who have isolated damage to one side of the knee joint.
During an HTO, the surgeon makes an incision on the outer side of the knee and exposes the tibia (shinbone). They then carefully cut and reshape the tibia bone to change its alignment. This is done by removing a wedge of bone from the tibia, usually near the knee joint. The wedge is removed from the side opposite to the damaged area of the knee joint. By removing this wedge, the surgeon can correct the alignment of the leg, shifting the weight-bearing load away from the damaged part of the knee joint.
The amount of correction needed varies for each patient and depends on the severity of the misalignment. The surgeon may use imaging techniques, such as X-rays or CT scans, to determine the appropriate angle and amount of correction required. After the bone has been reshaped, the surgeon may stabilise it using various techniques. This can include the use of plates, screws, or pins to hold the bone in its new position. These implants provide stability during the healing process, allowing the bone to fuse properly.
Following the surgery, patients typically require a period of rehabilitation and physical therapy to regain strength, stability, and range of motion in the knee joint. Weight-bearing activities are gradually reintroduced, and patients may be advised to use crutches or a walker initially to assist with mobility. The recovery period for an HTO can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery. It may take several months for the bone to heal completely, and during this time, patients are generally advised to avoid high-impact activities that could place excessive stress on the knee joint.
The benefits of HTO include pain relief, improved knee function, and potentially delaying the need for a total knee replacement surgery, especially in younger patients. By redistributing the weight-bearing load, HTO can alleviate symptoms and slow down the progression of osteoarthritis in the affected knee compartment. However, like any surgical procedure, HTO carries certain risks and potential complications. These can include infection, blood clots, nerve or blood vessel damage, poor bone healing, and the need for additional surgeries. Getting in touch with Dr Rajesh Malhotra, a knee specialist in Delhi, will help you get maximum positive outcomes from your knee treatment.