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Osteotomy (bone realignment)

Corrective surgery to cut and reshape your bones

Surgeons performing an osteotomy (bone realignment) procedure of the knee
An osteotomy, which literally translates as “cutting of the bone”, is a procedure to shorten or lengthen a bone, typically to correct a problem with one of your joints. It can be performed using many surgical techniques to correct a variety of problems. An osteotomy can:

  • Correct the angle or rotation of a joint
  • Correct the alignment of a deformed joint
  • Shorten or lengthen a bone
  • Repair damage to a bone, often caused by a joint pain condition such as arthritis

An osteotomy can help significantly reduce and even eliminate joint pain, which can restore your quality of life and get you back doing the things you love.

At Circle Health Group, we have a network of talented consultants who are specially trained in treating a range of joint issues and highly skilled in performing osteotomy. To find out more, you can book an appointment with one online or call our friendly team directly.

The cost of an osteotomy with Circle Health Group depends on a variety of factors, including the type of osteotomy you are having and your reasons for having surgery, as well as which hospital you choose.

If you would like an estimated quote for an osteotomy, give us a call and our dedicated advisors can put one together based on your personal circumstances.

If you are paying for your own treatment, our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required and interest-free options available.

If you have private health insurance, this type of surgery will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out more information on this.

There are several reasons why you might need an osteotomy, including:


You might be offered an osteotomy if you have arthritis that has not improved with traditional treatment options, such as steroid injection treatment and physiotherapy. Arthritis is an umbrella term that describes conditions that cause pain and inflammation in your joints. Millions of people suffer from arthritis in the UK, and there are various types that can develop. The most common are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory joint condition caused by an autoimmune process, which happens when your body attacks its healthy cells by mistake. This often causes pain, swelling, and inflammation in your joints. Joints affected by RA are commonly surrounded by inflamed tissue, which often results in chronic pain.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the smooth cartilage across the surface of your joint wears down over time. You'll sometimes hear it referred to as wear and tear arthritis, and it's more common the older we get. The wear and tear can make your joint very painful and stiff and can reduce your mobility.

A bone fracture

A fracture is when a crack or break occurs in your bone. Fractures are usually caused by a traumatic injury such as a collision during contact sports, but they can sometimes happen because of a condition that weakens your bone, for example osteoporosis.

Bone deformity

This occurs when your bone becomes misshapen or distorted from its original shape and size. There are multiple ways a bone can become deformed. They can become misaligned or misshapen following a fracture, or because of certain nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin D or calcium.

You might experience the following symptoms if you need an osteotomy:

  • Painful joints
  • Swollen joints
  • Stiffness in your joints
  • Difficulty when bearing weight on your joints

If the problem is in your jawbone, you might experience:

  • Pain in your jaw
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Locking of your jaw

Whatever your reason for having an osteotomy, we work with highly skilled consultant surgeons who can help you. They will support you throughout your journey with us, from your initial consultation right through to your recovery period at home.

You can usually see a specialist for your initial consultation within 48 hours of booking your appointment with us. Give us a call and we'll help you find an appointment time that suits you.

During this initial appointment, your consultant will ask in detail about your general health and your medical history. They will want to know about any existing medical conditions, as well as the current symptoms you are experiencing. They'll ask you how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur, and whether you have had any treatment for them yet.

In order to assess your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis of your concern, your consultant will next carry out a gentle physical examination of your joint(s). In some cases, they might also send you to get an X-ray, which will be done onsite by one of our radiolographers. All of this helps your consultant to make a diagnosis of the cause of your pain.

If you need a jaw osteotomy, your consultant will gently examine your mouth, teeth, gums, and jaws. They might also send you to get an x-ray to determine the best treatment for you.

Your initial consultation is an important and positive step in your journey towards improved mobility and reduced joint pain. To make the most of it, feel free to talk as openly and honestly as you like about the pain and other symptoms you're experiencing, the way they make you feel, and what you're hoping to get from treatment.

Your surgeon will give you a good idea of timelines during your initial consultation, after which they'll put together a fixed-price treatment package based on everything you have discussed together. Once you've agreed to the costs, we can get you booked in to have your surgery at a time that suits you.

There are different kinds of osteotomies depending on why the surgery is being performed, as well as which joint is affected. At Circle, we perform a variety of osteotomies, including:

An osteotomy of your knee

The most common kinds of osteotomies performed on your knee are high tibial and femoral osteotomies. These are performed to correct damage to your knee joint, or a deformity (misshapen bone) in your knee.

A high tibial osteotomy typically lasts between one and two hours and is performed under general anaesthetic. This means that you'll be asleep for the full operation and won't feel any pain at all.

Your surgeon will start by making an incision at the front of your knee, just below your kneecap. They will use guide wires to map out the exact part of the bone in your knee that needs to be removed to restore your function and mobility. Using an oscillating saw (a specialist tool), your surgeon will cut along the guide wires, removing the wedge of your bone - either on the outside of your upper shin bone, or just under the side of your knee that has healthy cartilage, depending on what is most appropriate for your condition.

They will then close the area with a metal plate or pins. After the pins are in place and your leg has been straightened into a correct shape, your surgeon will close your wound with stitches or staples ahead of applying a dressing.

During a femoral osteotomy, your consultant will correct damage to your femur, which is the long bone in your upper leg. They will cut the bone to realign and restore it to its usual position, closing your wound with stitches or staples before applying a dressing.

An osteotomy of your hip

This surgery helps restore usual alignment and mobility in your hip joint, which is a ball-and-socket joint that provides stability and motion in your body. During this type of osteotomy, your consultant will cut into a section of your pelvis and realign the structure of your bones according to your exact anatomy, helping restore balance and motion in your hip. You will be under general anaesthetic and the procedure typically lasts for up to two hours.

A jaw osteotomy

This surgery readjusts the position of your upper or lower jaw with your head and/or teeth. The procedure is used to resolve problems with your bite, difficulty swallowing and chewing, worn teeth, or an underbite or overbite. It can be on either your upper or lower jaw (single jaw osteotomy), or both jaws (bimaxillary osteotomy).

A jaw osteotomy usually lasts for around up to two hours and is performed under general anaesthetic. This is typically performed by an oral and maxillofacial consultant surgeon.

The benefits of this procedure include regain your ability to chew and swallow, resolved issues with your speech, and significant pain relief from issues such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which causes pain and stiffness across your jaw, ears, and temple.

Other types of osteotomy

These are not the only types of osteotomy performed to treat bone problems. Others include:

  • Spinal osteotomies
  • Osteotomies of the nose
  • Osteotomies of the shoulder
  • Osteotomies of the elbow

Our consultants are highly skilled at performing a wide range of osteotomies, including all the kinds listed above.

Your surgeon might recommend certain lifestyle changes in preparation an osteotomy (these will mostly be requested if you need an osteotomy on your hip or knee). These could include:

Weight loss

If you are overweight, your consultant will ask that you lose weight before surgery. They'll give you detailed advice about how to do this safely and healthily, and how to maintain a balanced diet and exercise regime that suits you as an individual. The reason we encourage people to lose weight before surgery is that doing so can decrease the risk of complications during surgery and help you recover faster.

Increased exercise

Staying active not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, but also strengthens the muscles around your joints, which could help you recover faster from surgery. Depending on your personal circumstances, you might also be referred to a physiotherapist, who will put together a simple exercise plan that you can follow to help you get stronger before surgery.

No alcohol

You should avoid drinking alcohol for at least 48 hours before having hip replacement surgery. Please speak with your consultant about this in more detail.

Changes to your medication

Your consultant will also share information on whether you should avoid taking your usual medication before going into hospital, or the kind of medication you might need to take after you have surgery.

Getting home

You'll also need to think about how you're getting to and from hospital and have this arranged before you come in for surgery. Perhaps a friend or family member can give you a lift, or maybe you'd rather book a taxi.

Your recovery time depends on the type of osteotomy you have, as well as many factors personal to you. Recovery is different for everyone and these timelines are just a guide.

Recovering from hip and knee osteotomy

It can take up to 12 months to recover fully from a hip or knee osteotomy. You should be able to get out of bed and walk straight away with the help of your physiotherapist, but you will need crutches or a walking aid to assist you with walking for at least eight weeks after surgery.

You should be well on your way to a full recovery (back to carrying out your usual everyday activities) within twelve weeks, but you will still need to have regular physiotherapy appointments for weeks after to continue to strengthen the muscles around your joints and improve your mobility.

Recovering from a jaw osteotomy

Most people stay in hospital for around two nights after surgery before returning home to recover. Full recovery from corrective jaw surgery can take up to 12 weeks, but some people can get back to living everyday life as usual within six weeks.

When you wake up in hospital, your nurses will be around you to monitor your blood pressure, your temperature, and your pain levels. You will experience pain and swelling in your jaw when you wake up but will be provided with pain relief to ease the pain, and antibiotics to prevent any infection. This will be offered in liquid form.

Within six weeks, the swelling in your jaw(s) will have eased and your pain levels will have improved. By this time, you should be back at work, but be gentle with yourself as you continue to recover.

Physiotherapy after an osteotomy

Physiotherapy is a very important part of your recovery journey at Circle Health Group. How well you follow the guidance of your physiotherapist can have a huge impact on how well and how quickly you recover.

You will meet your physiotherapist at the hospital after your operation, if not before. They will get to know you and your individual circumstances, and they'll tailor your recovery programme so that it's bespoke to you. This plan will be made up of exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your mobility and the range of motion in your joint.

Your physiotherapist will let you know how regularly you should do these exercises outside of your sessions, and they'll help you source ant equipment you might need to help you do them. They'll also give you advice on how to incorporate exercise into your daily routine at home, so that your physiotherapy becomes a normal part of your day.

Your consultant is there to help

If you have any questions during your recovery time, you can speak with your consultant. They will also arrange follow-up appointments to monitor your recovery and make sure you are happy with the results of your surgery.

We answer your most commonly asked questions about having an osteotomy.

Is an osteotomy painful?

You will typically be under general anaesthetic during your osteotomy, meaning you won't be awake during it, so you won't feel any pain. You will probably have some pain and swelling after you wake up from surgery, but your healthcare team will ensure you get the painkillers you need and that your pain is managed effectively. They will also explain how you can manage your pain at home.

How long do you need crutches for after an osteotomy?

This depends on your individual healing journey and the type of osteotomy you have, but you should be walking without crutches around twelve weeks after surgery.

How long until I can drive after an osteotomy?

You won't be able to drive for at least eight weeks after surgery, but you should ask you consultant about this, as it can vary depending on individual circumstances.

Is osteotomy a major surgery?

Yes, an osteotomy is considered a major surgery because it can be invasive (your consultant will cut and reshape your bone near a damaged joint).

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times to fit your schedule
  • The freedom to choose your hospital and your consultant
  • Bespoke, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • Tasty and nutritious meals cooked onsite to your dietary requirements
  • Support from the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help spread the cost of your care

If you want to know more about having an osteotomy with Circle Health Group, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in February 2023. Next review due February 2026.

  1. Femoral osteotomy, NHS

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