Coronal Alignment Correction and Maintenance of Tibial Slope in Opening-Wedge Valgus High Tibial Osteotomy Using a 4-Reference Kirschner Wire Technique: A Cadaveric Study

Orthop J Sports Med. 2020 Jun 5;8(6):2325967120923608. doi: 10.1177/2325967120923608. eCollection 2020 Jun.


Background: Opening-wedge valgus high tibial osteotomy (OWHTO) is a common surgical procedure used to treat symptomatic varus femorotibial malalignment in adults. Several intraoperative methods are available to determine the correct correction alignment, but achieving the desired alignment correction is difficult.

Purpose/hypothesis: The aim of this study was to assess a 4-reference K-wire technique that is relatively easy to apply and can reliably assess actual alignment correction during surgery after determination of the desired corrective angle. We hypothesized that this technique would accurately determine the coronal correction and properly maintain the tibial slope intraoperatively during OWHTO.

Study design: Descriptive laboratory study.

Methods: This study was conducted using 12 fresh-frozen cadavers; 12 randomly chosen knees were corrected 5° and 12 knees were corrected 10° by use of 2 coronal and 2 sagittal K-wires. The first and second coronal K-wires were drilled at 4 cm and 1 to 2 cm below the medial joint line toward the tibiofibular joint, respectively. The angles of these 2 coronal K-wires were measured before and after the gap was opened via a modified goniometer. The difference in the angle formed by these 2 coronal K-wires from before to after opening of the gap was the alignment correction angle. In addition, 2 sagittal K-wires were drilled parallel to each other before the gap opening above and below the osteotomy site. Ensuring that these 2 sagittal K-wires remained parallel after the gap opening confirmed that the tibial slope had been maintained. The paired t test was used to compare the desired alignment corrections and the different angles measured between the pre- and postoperative radiographic alignments.

Results: The mean ± SD differences in angles between the pre- and postoperative alignments of the 5° and 10° corrections were 5.04° ± 0.68° and 10.03° ± 0.68°, respectively, indicating no statistically significant differences between pre- and postoperative alignment in both groups. As well, no significant difference was noted between the pre- and postoperative medial tibial slope (P = .54).

Conclusion: The coronal alignment correction and maintenance of the tibial slope using the 4-reference K-wire technique was found to be highly accurate and reliable.

Clinical relevance: Achieving the correct angle in OWHTO is difficult, and the 4-reference K-wire technique provides an easier and more reliable way to obtain the correct angle. This technique can be used in most hospital settings, with no need for expensive equipment.

Keywords: alignment correction; high tibial osteotomy; open-wedge.