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Mar 18, 2024
1:38 Minutes

What Is a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)?

Types of Procedures

Revolutionizing Canine Care: The TPLO Procedure

In the realm of veterinary medicine, one procedure stands out as a game-changer for treating degenerative and traumatic ACL tears in dogs: Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO). Let's delve into what TPLO entails and why it's become the go-to solution for addressing canine knee issues.

Understanding the Canine Knee

Similar to the human knee, a dog's knee comprises the femur and tibia, forming a crucial hinge joint. The cruciate ligament plays a pivotal role in stabilizing this joint, preventing the tibia from sliding forward relative to the femur. However, unlike human knee injuries often associated with sports or accidents, dogs primarily suffer from ACL degeneration due to aging, wear and tear, and genetic predispositions.

As the ACL weakens, the knee becomes increasingly unstable, leading to inflammation, discomfort, lameness, and restricted mobility. Left untreated, this instability inevitably progresses to arthritis, severely impacting the dog's quality of life. Unlike other joints where management options abound, such as the hip and ankle, effective long-term solutions for knee arthritis in dogs remain limited.

The Role of Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy

Given the limitations of conservative management, veterinarians opt for a more proactive approach: surgical intervention. TPLO surgery aims to restore stability to the knee by altering the shape of the dog's shinbone, eliminating the need for an ACL altogether. This innovative procedure offers a long-lasting solution, preventing future ACL tears and minimizing the risk of arthritis down the line. TPLO is often a common procedure aimed at addressing Cranial Cruciate Ligament Instability.

The TPLO Procedure Unpacked

TPLO surgery involves a meticulous process of reshaping the tibia to reduce its inclination, thereby stabilizing the knee joint. Here's a breakdown of the key steps involved:

  • Bone Reshaping: Using a specialized saw, the tibia is carefully cut into two pieces, allowing for the rotation of the joint surface to decrease the angle to approximately three degrees.
  • Plate and Screw Application: Once the desired angle is achieved, a specially designed plate and screw system is utilized to secure the two bone pieces in place. This hardware facilitates optimal healing and fusion of the bone segments.
  • Recovery and Rehabilitation: Following surgery, dogs undergo a period of rest and rehabilitation to promote proper healing. Most dogs regain full functionality within six weeks post-surgery, boasting an impressive 95-100% recovery rate.

The TPLO Advantage

What sets Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy apart from other surgical techniques is its focus on bone healing and long-term outcomes. By fundamentally altering the knee's biomechanics, TPLO offers dogs a newfound stability that significantly enhances their quality of life. With minimal risk of future complications, TPLO stands as a beacon of hope for dogs grappling with ACL tears and knee instability.

In conclusion, TPLO represents a revolutionary advancement in veterinary orthopedics, offering a viable solution for addressing canine knee issues. Through meticulous bone reshaping and innovative hardware application, TPLO surgery not only restores stability to the knee but also paves the way for a brighter, more active future for our beloved furry companions.

Let Us Know How We Can Help.

Capital Animal Hospital specializes in treating many of your pet's common conditions, including Cranial Cruciate Ligament Instability, Canine Hip Dysplasia, Patella Luxation, Traumatic Injuries, and more. We partner with veterinary practices to provide specialized orthopedic services. To find out how we can serve your pets, call us today at 803-722-1738 or schedule an appointment on our website. Refer a patient if you're a veterinarian looking for the best orthopedic care for your patients.

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