Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy
Canine ACL Surgery
Frequently, cruciate ligament rupture is a gradual process and not simply due to a single traumatic injury. Rupture of the cruciate ligament in both knees is common. In addition, one out of three dogs will also develop a cruciate rupture of the opposite stifle. TPLO surgery has a steep learning curve; therefore it is important to choose a veterinarian with experience. We have a board qualified surgeon, Dr. Rick Schwach, perform our TPLOs.
Today, the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy is the used to overcome the effects of cranial tibial thrust. Thus, the need for the anterior cruciate ligament is eliminated as a restraint to the cranial tibial thrust. The medial meniscus is also removed if the cruciate ligament tear is complete. If there is a partial rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament the medial meniscus is left intact.
Healing takes approximately two months for the bone to heal, and slightly longer for the soft tissues to return to normal. The tibial compression test will be slightly positive initially and usually absent by three months post-operatively.
Because the tibial plateau leveling permits the joint pain to subside, the major problem in this surgery has been related to excessive patient activity before the bone has completely healed. Owners are advised that absolute restriction of activity is mandatory during the healing process. Most patients return to very light activity at two to three months, and full training at five to six months. Complete return of thigh diameter, complete flexion of the stifle, and good athletic performance usually results from this surgery. This is success as far as the working dog is concerned.
The surgery results over the past ten years have been excellent. Even patients that had ruptured ligaments for up to five years have made marked improvement. Many of these cases have a longer period of regaining flexibility in the stifle. However, dogs with poor conformation may not respond well to this surgery and a consultation with the surgeon prior to surgery will be necessary.
This surgery is not size dependent. The TPLO can be performed on all sizes of breeds. Because being overweight can be a factor in tearing an anterior cruciate ligament, it is recommended to keep your pet at a healthy weight both before and after surgery.