Background: Posterior tibial slope (PTS) increases after medial open-wedge high tibial osteotomy (OWHTO) is challenging for patients. This study aims to determine whether use of a suspended and straightened knee joint position during the fixing of steel plates can prevent an increase in the posterior tibial slope after OWHTO.
Methods: This study retrospectively analyzed 112 subjects (122 knees) [34 males, 78 females; mean age 59.1±6.6 (range 48–76) years; mean body mass index (BMI) 28.06±3.61 kg/m²] who underwent OWHTO. A total of 78 knees that were suspended and extended by placing a sterile cloth ball under the ipsilateral ankle during the fixing of steel plates comprised the suspended and straightened knee joint position (SSP) group, and 44 knees that were kept naturally straightened without placing a sterile cloth ball under the ipsilateral ankle during the fixing of steel plates comprised the naturally straightened knee joint position (NSP) group. Patients were clinically assessed according to the visual analog pain scale (VAS) and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) osteoarthritis index. Radiological assessment was performed according to the changes in the posterior tibial slope between preoperation, 1-day postoperation, and the final follow-up periods. Ultimately, the difference in postoperative PTS changes between the two groups was statistically analyzed. The median follow-up period was 2.2 years (range 1.6–3.7 years).
Results: In the final follow-up period, significant improvements were observed in the clinical VAS and WOMAC scores in both groups (P < 0.001), and no difference was found between the two groups. Radiological assessment showed that there was no statistical difference in the preoperative PTS between the two groups. The 1-day post-operative PTS and the most recent follow-up PTS were significantly greater than the preoperative PTS in the NSP group (t=-3.213, -6.406, all P < 0.001), but no significant increase was seen in the SSP group (P >0.05). The increase in PTS in the NSP group was significantly greater than that in the SSP group at the 1-day postoperative (t=2.243, P=0.030) and final follow-up periods (t=6.501, P<0.001).
Conclusion: For OWHTO, the use of a suspended and straightened knee joint position rather than a naturally straightened knee joint position during the fixing of steel plates could effectively prevent the increase in postoperative PTS.
Level of Evidence: Retrospective Study Level III