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Total knee replacements may become more and more prevalent, but there is an “unappreciated” surgical technique (even by the studies) which is thought to be ideal for young and active patients with arthritis in early stages, and has only affected one knee compartment.
Osteotomies (as they are referred to in the international bibliography, from the compound Greek word (bone / ‘’osto’’ + incision / ‘’tomy’’ ) aim to “defuse” the affected part of the joint and reduce the pressure upon the cartilage, and thus slow down or stop its destruction, which is the cause of arthritis - on average, they can delay arthroplasty by 10 years. In addition, patients can still practice activities involving overuse of the knees, such as running, mountaineering, cycling, physically demanding work, or the transfer of weight.
Briefly speaking, the surgeon changes the knee mechanics by shifting the loads towards the healthy part of the joint, by “straightening” the knee, and improving motion. In order for all this to happen, an incision is made in the upper part of the tibia or in the lower part of the thigh, near the joint, but outside of it.

Recent studies indicate that the results recorded in patients who are of an older age and with low-level functional requirements are very encouraging for younger people who practice sports, where arthritis is not a degenerative condition, but the result of an injury. The same studies, however, explain that cases of instability (for example, disruption of the anterior cruciate ligament) are more complicated, thus osteotomies may not be the appropriate surgical option.

On average, surgery lasts two hours, and the hospitalization varies between two and three days. Postoperatively, the patient should use crutches for 6-8 weeks, and perhaps the orthopaedist shall chose to immobilize the knee. During physical therapies, the range of motion and knee strength gradually recover. The recovery period until the return to the sports activities ranges from 3 to 6 months.

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