Despite several advantages of medial opening wedge high tibial osteotomy, this procedure has been noted to have a high rate of complications especially with the use of a spacer plate for fixation. We retrospectively evaluated the early complications of 138 medial opening wedge high tibial osteotomies done using autologous tricortical iliac bone graft and T-plate fixation(AO locking compression T-plate, Ti/3H 4.5-5.0 mm, Synthes, Switzerland, Model No. 440.131 in 30 and low-profile locking T-plate and low-profile locking T-plate in 128 patients. At a mean follow-up of 36.8 months (13 to 78), 26 knees (18.8%) developed complications. Complications varied from osteotomy site infection, loss of correction, broken screws and lateral tibial plateau fracture to joint fluid leakage, pseudoaneurysm and iliac bone fractures. Using the "safe zone" technique and penetrating the lateral cortex with Steinmann pins may help to avoid complications such as loss of correction and lateral tibial plateau fractures. The results of this study indicate that medial opening wedge high tibial osteotomy using autologous tricortical iliac bone graft and T-plate fixation may be a technically demanding procedure associated with a moderate rate of complications. However, these complications could be minimized with proper planning, adequate intra-operative precautions and few modifications to avoid technical error.
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