Background: High tibial osteotomy (HTO) is a widely used treatment option for medial osteoarthritis and varus malalignment, especially in young patients with early osteoarthritis. Limited outcome data are available for this procedure in severe osteoarthritis, and no long-term data are available using newer implants.
Purpose: To determine survivorship and functional results of medial open-wedge HTO combined with a chondral resurfacing (CR) procedure (abrasion plus microfracture) in severe medial osteoarthritis (Kellgren-Lawrence grade 3 and 4) and varus malalignment. Furthermore, factors that potentially influence the outcome were analyzed.
Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.
Methods: From September 2005 to December 2008, all cases of HTO (fixation with an angular-stable internal fixator) combined with CR were prospectively surveyed with regard to survival (Kaplan-Meier-method, not requiring arthroplasty) and functional outcome (subjective International Knee Documentation Committee [IKDC] score). Cartilage regeneration at the time of hardware removal, tibial bone varus angle (TBVA), pre- and postoperative mechanical medial proximal tibial angle (MPTA), and postoperative alignment were analyzed with regard to the result.
Results: Seventy-nine knees were included (73 patients; mean age 50.9 ± 7.6 years). The follow-up rate was 90% at 10.0 ± 1.2 years (range, 8.3-12.1 years). Pre- and postoperative mechanical tibiofemoral axis were 9.6° ± 3.0° of varus and 0.6° ± 2.7° of valgus, respectively. Survival rate was 81.7% (95% CI, 72.5%-90.9%) at 10 years. Subjective IKDC score significantly improved from 44 ± 11 preoperatively to 70 ± 13 at one, 66 ± 15 at three, 66 ± 15 at five, and 65 ± 17 at ten years ( P < .001 at any point of follow-up). Poor cartilage regeneration and low preoperative IKDC score (<40) were associated with decreased survival. High preoperative TBVA was associated with better and an overcorrected MPTA (>95°) with inferior functional outcome at final follow-up, respectively.
Conclusion: Even in cases of severe medial osteoarthritis and varus malalignment, HTO in combination with a CR procedure is a good to excellent treatment option. The role of the CR procedure remains unclear. Although good results are obtained with overcorrected MPTA, long-term functional outcome is inferior.
Keywords: HTO; arthritis; joint line obliquity; malalignment; microfracture; osteotomy; tibial geometry.