Lesser-Known Knee Surgery May Prevent Total Knee Replacement

High Tibial Surgery for Younger Patients

A new study has revealed that a lesser-known knee surgery may prevent total knee replacement. The findings of the study, published within the Canadian Medical Association Journal, prove promising for younger patients.

The surgery, known as High Tibial Osteotomy, was shown to significantly reduce the need for a total knee replacement in younger patients. So, what is this lesser-known knee surgery and what did the study show?

High Tibial knee surgery

High Tibial Osteotomy is used on younger patients in the early stages of osteoarthritis. The procedure was first performed in the 1950s and it aims to shift the weight away from the damaged part of the knee. This helps to greatly reduce pain and improve the function of the joint.

In the procedure, the shinbone is cut and then reshaped. As well as helping to relieve pressure on the damaged joint, the surgery can also help to correct poor knee alignment. The aim is to prolong the joint and reduce the need for a knee replacement.

Those under the age of 60 with damage only to one side of the joint are ideal candidates for the procedure. Like any surgery, there are risks and complications. The surgeon will talk through the risks during your consultation.

Understanding the recent study

The recent study was carried out at the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Bone and Joint Institute at Western University, Canada. Led by Dr Trevor Birmingham, the study looked at patients who had undergone a High Tibial Osteotomy using the medial wedge method, from 2002-2014. They looked at the incidence of total knee replacements in July 2019.

There were 556 patients included in the study, who had collectively undergone 643 High Tibial Osteotomy surgeries. The rate of total knee replacements after five years was 5%, rising to 21% after 10 years. This shows that the procedure protects the knee for longer than 10 years in most patients.

Several risks for a total knee replacement were also identified. These included the severity of the osteoarthritis, pain, gender, BMI, and age. It was discovered that more women patients went on to require a total knee replacement. Younger patients who aren’t very active also have an increased risk. These risk factors will help surgeons and physicians determine its suitability for patients.

Is High Tibial Osteotomy the best option younger patients?

While High Tibial Osteotomy surgery is used on younger patients, many surgeons have been reluctant to carry out the procedure. This is because they believe it is better to opt for non-operative treatments while waiting for total knee replacement surgery.

This new study shows the effectiveness of treating younger patients with a High Tibial Osteotomy. With results lasting over a decade, it is an effective way to eliminate the pain associated with osteoarthritis. To discover whether this type of surgery would be effective for your osteoarthritis, call  08450 60 44 99 to book a consultation at our London or Bristol knee clinics.