Introduction: Lateral opening wedge high tibial osteotomy is a rarely employed surgical technique used for the treatment of lateral knee pain and degeneration in the setting of genu valgum. There exists little evidence of the suitability of this procedure for patients requiring osteotomies with a small correction.
Materials and methods: A case series of 23 patients (24 knees) undergoing lateral opening wedge high tibial osteotomy with a minimum follow-up of 2 years was performed between 2002 and 2008. A surgical technique avoiding the need for fibular osteotomy is described. Adverse events, patient-reported outcomes and radiographic measures of alignment were assessed at baseline, at 6 months postoperatively, and at time of final follow-up. A subgroup of 12 patients also underwent 3D gait analysis at the same time points.
Results: The mean follow-up was 52 months (±20.4). Statistically and clinically significant improvements were identified in the lower extremity functional scale [mean change (95%CI) = 10 (2.4, 17.6)], and in the knee injury and osteoarthritis outcome score [mean change (95%CI) = 10.9 (0.5, 21.4)]. Mechanical axis changed from 2.4 ± 2.4° valgus to 0 ± 2.6° varus (p<0.001), anatomical axis from 6.9 ± 2.8° to 4.7 ± 2.5° valgus (p < 0.001), with weight-bearing line offset changing from 60.2 ± 11.4% to 49.5 ± 12.4% (p < 0.001). Change in lateral tibial slope, from 6.5 ± 2.2° to 7.5 ± 2.3°, was very small and not statistically significant (n.s.). The peak knee adduction moment during gait significantly increased [mean change (95%CI) = 0.72%BW*Ht (0.42, 1.02), suggesting a medial shift in dynamic knee joint load. Two patients underwent total knee arthroplasty during the study period.
Conclusions: Lateral opening wedge high tibial osteotomy is a viable surgical option for patients with lateral knee pain and valgus malalignment requiring small degrees of correction.
Level of evidence: IV.