Valgus high tibial osteotomy is considered to be an effective treatment for unicompartmental medial osteoarthritis. It is generally admitted that tibial slope increases after open-wedge high tibial osteotomy and decreases after closing-wedge high tibial osteotomy. However, the effects on posterior tibial slope of closing- or opening-wedge osteotomies remain controversial.
We analyzed the modifications of tibial slope after opening- and closing-wedge high tibial osteotomies and compared the results of these two procedures. We hypothesized that there was no difference in postoperative tibial slope between opening and closing-wedge osteotomies.
Patients and methods
This prospective consecutive nonrandomized multicenter study was conducted between January 2008 and March 2009 and included 321 patients: 205 men and 116 women. A total of 224 patients underwent an opening-wedge high tibial osteotomy and 97 a closing-wedge osteotomy. The mean age was 52 years±9 and the mean body mass index was 28kg/m2±5. The main etiology was primary arthritis. Posterior tibial slope was measured preoperatively and at the last follow-up on a lateral radiograph in relation to the posterior tibial cortex.
In the opening-wedge group, a definite 0.6° increase in tibial slope (P=0.016) was observed. In the closing-wedge group, a definite 0.7° decrease in tibial slope (P=0.02) was found. Fourteen percent of the opening-wedge osteotomies increased tibial slope by 5° or more versus only 2% of the closed-wedge osteotomies (P<0.001). Twelve percent of the closing-wedge high tibial osteotomies led to a decrease of 5° or more of the tibial slope versus 7% of the opening-wedge osteotomies (P<0.02).
Discussion and conclusion
These results confirm what is generally reported in the literature, i.e., an increase in tibial slope in opening-wedge high tibial osteotomy and a decrease in the slope in closing-wedge osteotomies. These tibial slope changes appear to be very limited in this series, less than 1° on average. However, there was a bias since the open-wedge technique was preferred in cases with substantial varus deformity. We emphasize the importance of surgical technique to avoid alteration of the tibial slope, particularly in opening-wedge high tibial osteotomy for which we recommend a release of posterior soft tissue and a complete osteotomy of the posterior cortex of the tibia.
Level of evidence
III. Prospective consecutive nonrandomized multicenter study.
Keywords : High tibial osteotomy, Opening-wedge, Closing-wedge, Tibial slope, Knee osteoarthritis