Tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy (TPLO) is an advanced surgical procedure performed on dogs to repair a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). The procedure restructures the way the leg bones interact within the knee to restabilize the joint. This innovative surgery alters the slope of the tibia, allowing the femur to rest directly on the bone. This is done by making a circular cut in the upper section of the tibia and rotating the bone until the plateau is level. Upon achieving the desired angle, a steel plate is attached to the bone to hold it in place and allow for proper healing. By leveling the tibial plateau, the femur is no longer able to slide against the bone and cause damage. After a TPLO procedure, a pet has a load-bearing, stable joint without the cranial cruciate ligament.
Recovering from TPLO
Tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy is a major surgical procedure that requires an initial recovery period of 12 weeks. Your Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center veterinarian will likely prescribe pain medications, laser therapy and antibiotics in the critical period following the procedure to manage discomfort and prevent infection of the surgical site. Pets must wear a collar to keep them from licking the incision for the first two weeks following surgery.
After a TPLO operation, pet owners must severely limit their pet’s exercise for the first few weeks so the bone and soft tissues can heal. Pets should be confined to a small area in the home to restrict unnecessary movement and prevent strenuous activity. Regular veterinary checkups and X-rays with your Bear Valley veterinarian will monitor your pet’s recovery, assessing limb and joint function as well as general mobility. As your dog heals, we may recommend gradually increasing exercise based on individual evaluation.
We often recommend physical therapy after surgery to maximize recovery. Rehabilitation may include strength training, range of motion techniques and aquatic therapy to help strengthen the joint and restore mobility.