Knee osteotomy

Knee osteotomy is a surgical procedure that may be recommended if you have arthritis damage in just one area of your knee. The procedure involves removing or adding a wedge of bone to your upper shinbone (tibia) or lower thighbone (femur) to help shift your body weight off the damaged portion of your knee joint.

Knee osteotomy is most commonly performed on people who may be considered too young for a total knee replacement. Total knee replacements wear out much more quickly in people younger than 55 than in people older than 70.

Many people who undergo knee osteotomy will eventually need a total knee replacement — usually about 10 to 15 years after the knee osteotomy.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Slick cartilage allows the ends of the bones in a healthy knee to move smoothly against each other. Osteoarthritis damages and wears away the cartilage — creating a rough surface.

When the cartilage wears away unevenly, it narrows the space between the femur and tibia, resulting in a bow inward or outward depending on which side of the knee is affected. Removing or adding a wedge of bone in your upper shinbone or lower thighbone can help straighten this bowing, shift your weight to the undamaged part of your knee joint and prolong the life span of the knee joint.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use