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Knee Osteotomy

Knee Anatomy

The knee is made of three bones, the shinbone, the thighbone, and the kneecap. Articular cartilage covers the top of the shinbone, the bottom of the thigh bone and the back of the knee cap. It is designed to protect the bones from rubbing together.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive, chronic, degenerative disease. It is a disease of aging often called wear and tear arthritis that wears away the articular cartilage at the ends of the bones. The articular cartilage functions to help the knee glide smoothly. Degeneration can cause popping, locking and pain.

When the knee loses cartilage, the bone grows in an attempt to repair the damage, but this abnormal growth of bone makes things worse, creating misshapen bone, and altering bone alignment. Knee OA makes it painful and difficult to perform the normal functions of daily life like kneeling, climbing stairs and walking.

A knee osteotomy is a well-established surgical procedure that can significantly reduce pain and improve function for patients with moderate OA in one area of the knee (single compartment).

Called a High Tibial Osteotomy (HTO), this procedure involves changing the poor alignment of the knee caused by OA by cutting the bone and using screws and plates or a bone graft to hold the bones together while they heal.

Restoring alignment shifts weight bearing to the healthy part of the knee. The result is pain relief, improved function, and slowed cartilage deterioration which can potentially delay the need for a future knee replacement. Studies report that knee replacement can be delayed for about a decade, but this depends on patient factors.

Typically, the patient will spend about one day in the hospital and several weeks using crutches.  Physical therapy beings immediately and will focus on restoring range of motion and assist in reducing pain. It can take up to six months to fully recover after an osteotomy; and up to a year to return to high impact activities like running.

This procedure is usually reserved for patients with early-to-moderate OA on one side of the knee joint. Patient selection is vital to a good outcome.  Several techniques are available. The exact technique is determined by the degree and location of the damage and malalignment.

Why choose Dr. Petrigliano?

Dr. Frank Petrigliano is an orthopaedic surgeon who was fellowship trained in sports medicine and shoulder surgery at the prestigious Hospital for Special Surgery where he provided care to athletes of all ages. He currently serves as the head team physician for the LA Chargers football team and associate team physician for UCLA Athletics. Dr. Petrigliano is a renowned orthopaedic surgeon and researcher who employs state of the art treatments and procedures to get you back to your active life and back to sport. He always treats his patients with compassion and respect. Dr. Petrigliano is located in Santa Monica California, and serves greater Los Angele and the South Bay. Contact Dr. Petrigliano to schedule a consultation today.

At a Glance

Dr. Frank Petrigliano

  • Vice Chair of Education for the UCLA Department of Orthopadic Surgery
  • Head team physician for the LA Chargers Football
  • Associate team physician for UCLA Athletics
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