Patient Stories

Brantley P. Vitek, Jr., MD

Fairfax County sheriff’s deputy Buddy never wants to leave his fellow deputies unprotected. But many years of playing professional football, including two seasons with the Washington Redskins, had taken a toll on his joints. When debilitating knee pain slowed him down at work, he sought a solution that would get him back on his feet and back on the job as soon as possible.

Buddy consulted Brantley Vitek, MD, at OrthoVirginia. After an X-ray revealed severe bone-on-bone arthritis in Buddy’s right knee, he feared he would need a knee replacement. Dr. Vitek had another option in mind: knee osteotomy.

Osteotomy literally means “cutting of the bone.” In a knee osteotomy, either the tibia (shinbone) or femur (thighbone) is cut and reshaped to relieve pressure on the knee joint. It is most commonly performed on people in their 30s and 40s who have isolated degeneration or arthritis on one side of the joint only and are considered too young for knee replacement.

Because the arthritis affected just one part of Buddy’s knee, and because he was 48 at the time, he was a good candidate for an osteotomy. Looking back, it appears to have been the right decision.

“This was a quick fix that involved a much shorter recovery period than a total knee replacement,” he says. “I was very determined to get back to work, so I pushed myself pretty hard.”

Buddy was up and walking immediately after the procedure and spent the next few weeks in rehabilitation. Within a month he returned to light duty work, and just six weeks after surgery he was back on the job full time.

Ten years later, Buddy is still pain free. And if he needs a joint replacement down the road, he knows just where to turn. “Dr. Vitek is a great surgeon and OrthoVirginia is a terrific practice,” he says. “I’m glad they are there because I know I’m going to need them for the rest of my life.”