Effect of open wedge high tibial osteotomy on the lateral tibiofemoral compartment in sheep. Part II: standard and overcorrection do not cause articular cartilage degeneration.
- Sports Medicine Research Laboratory
PURPOSE: To evaluate whether medial open wedge high tibial osteotomy (HTO) results in structural changes in the articular cartilage in the lateral tibiofemoral compartment of adult sheep. METHODS: Three experimental groups received biplanar osteotomies of the right proximal tibiae: (a) closing wedge HTO (4.5 degrees of tibial varus), (b) opening wedge HTO (4.5 degrees tibial valgus; standard correction), and (c) opening wedge HTO (9.5 degrees of valgus; overcorrection), each of which was compared to the contralateral knees that only received an arthrotomy. After 6 months, the macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of the articular cartilage of the lateral tibiofemoral compartment were assessed. RESULTS: The articular cartilage in the central region of the lateral tibial plateau in sheep had a higher safranin O staining intensity and was 4.6-fold thicker than in the periphery (covered by the lateral meniscus). No topographical variation in the type-II collagen immunoreactivity was seen. All lateral tibial plateaus showed osteoarthritic changes in regions not covered by the lateral meniscus. No osteoarthritis was seen in the peripheral submeniscal regions of the lateral tibial plateau and the lateral femoral condyle. Opening wedge HTO resulting in both standard and overcorrection was not associated with significant macroscopic and microscopic structural changes between groups in the articular cartilage of the lateral tibial plateau and femoral condyle after 6 months in vivo. CONCLUSION: Opening wedge HTO resulting in both standard and overcorrection is a safe procedure for the articular cartilage in an intact lateral tibiofemoral compartment of adult sheep at 6 months postoperatively.