Let’s start with the basics – TPLO stands for tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, and it’s a procedure used to correct a torn or injured CCL (Cranial Cruciate Ligament) which is the canine equivalent to the human ACL. TPLO is an invasive surgery, but is considered the gold-standard correction for a torn CCL.
How it works: The procedure involves adjusting the proximal tibia to eliminate the need of the CCL for stabilizing the knee joint. During surgery, a TPLO-specific saw is used to make a very precise cut through the tibial plateau, altering its slope. It is then rotated slightly. This stops the femur from sliding down the tibial plateau when the knee is bearing weight. Once the correction/rotation is made, a specialized plate and set of screws is used to secure the bone.
The benefits: TPLO surgery has a faster recovery time than other procedures, and is best for avoiding long-term pain medications. TPLO may help prevent the progression of arthritis better than other procedures. It allows very active dogs, such as ones that do competitive or performance athletics, to resume normal exercise. Success rates for this surgery are very high, and the rate of complications is minimal.
TPLO is the go-to for large breeds, active dogs, and young dogs. There are some cases, such as anatomical traits, or size and age factors, that could warrant alternative procedures. We are happy to discuss your specific situation and help determine if TPLO is right for your dog.
You can learn about our recovery regimen for this procedure and some of the alternatives to TPLO surgery here.