What is the procedure called an osteotomy?

Osteotomy is a surgical procedure that involves an orthopaedic surgeon cutting and reshaping the bone near a damaged knee joint to help minimise stress on the affected area. Knee osteotomy is performed during the early stages of osteoarthritis, which leads to damage on one side of the knee. An osteotomy helps shift the weight off the damaged side of the knee joint, relieves pain and improves the functionality of the knee.

A knee osteotomy is effective for active patients who are under the age of 60. It may also be indicated for the following reasons:

  • No pain under the kneecap.
  • Pain on one side of the knee.
  • Knee pain that occurs due to prolonged activity or standing for a long time.

Patients who are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis are not good candidates for a knee osteotomy. The orthopaedic surgeon will discuss with you whether a knee osteotomy is suited for you or not, depending on your situation and general health.

How does Dr van Niekerk perform the procedure?

During the procedure, Dr van Niekerk will make an incision on the front of the knee. A wedge will be used, and the correct size will be planned using guide wires. The orthopaedic surgeon will use an oscillating saw to cut along the guide wires. The wedge will either be removed or placed, depending on the condition. The orthopaedic surgeon will then insert a plate and screws to help hold the bones in place till the osteotomy heals.

What is recovery like?

After the procedure, you may go home after 1 – 2 days after the procedure. Pain medicine helps ease pain and makes you feel as comfortable as possible. A physical therapist will be recommended to maintain the range of motion in the knee as well as restore strength to the knee.


When will I be able to get back to engaging in full activities?

You can return to activities appropriately 3-6 months after the procedure.

What can I do to help my healing process?

You may help the process by doing the following:

  • Not smoking as nicotine may slow down the healing process as well as prevent your bones from healing and fusing correctly.
  • Start eating healthier meals.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Following instructions given by your healthcare provider.
What outcome may be expected?

The outcome depends on your general health, the severity of the situation, and the procedure.