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Toronto, AL M5N 2M7
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Fax: 416-483-2654

Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I am a dance instructor teaching the foxtrot, tango, two-step, and waltz to all ages. My own dance career was cut short by a knee injury that quickly degenerated into arthritis because of a knee alignment problem on that side. I thought maybe I needed a knee replacement. But the orthopedic surgeon I saw suggested cutting a piece of bone out of my leg -- something called an osteotomy. How will this help my problem? I don't get it.

Osteotomy is a surgical procedure designed to realign the knee and even out the weight-bearing forces from side to side. A wedge-shaped piece of bone is removed from one side of the bone. Then the bone above and below the space is adjusted to correct the joint alignment. The two sides of the bone can be held open with a special opening-wedge metal device screwed into the bone. Or the two sides of the bone can be collapsed down toward each other in a closing-wedge procedure. Once the joint is realigned to create a more normal load distribution, painful symptoms go away, and the knee is stable again. The best use of this procedure is for patients who have abnormal joint alignment and uneven weight-bearing that has led to unicompartmental arthritis on one side of the joint. Usually the medial side (or compartment closest to the other knee) is affected but lateral unicompartmental arthritis can develop instead. The type of unicompartmental (one-sided) arthritis that develops is based on how the knee is put together, where the alignment problem is, and how the uneven load affects the joint. In the past, osteotomies were more commonly used with older adults. But their use in younger adults has become the focus of closer attention in the last few years. New, updated techniques used to perform osteotomies make this procedure one to consider for younger, more active patients with unicompartmental knee arthritis.It can delay the need for a knee replacement by as much as 10 years and make it possible for you to remain unrestricted in your physical activities during that time.


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