What is a TPLO?
The knee joint, or stifle joint, in dogs is in most respects very similar to our own. All of the problems that you know occur in our knees also can occur in dogs. These include meniscal injury, anterior, or cranial cruciate tears and ruptures.
The most common cause of sudden onset of lameness in the hind legs of dogs is the tearing of the cranial cruciate ligament. This rupture produces severe instability in the stifle joint, that is inflammatory and painful. Within 4 weeks of an unattended ruptured ligament, x-rays show the beginning of arthritic development.
So what is Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy
- Surgical procedures to recreate stability in the joint have changed and evolved over the past 50 years. However, the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, or TPLO, has proved to be most successful to date, in correcting the problem and preventing ongoing development of arthritis, when performed by an experienced surgical team.
- Previously mentioned was that the joint of human and dogs were very similar. There is one significant difference, however. In dogs a significant slope exists at the top of the tibia. The femur, or thigh bone, wants to slip down that slope, but the cranial cruciate ligament prevents it, like an anchor or guy rope holding it back. With the ligament ruptured, the femur is allowed to slip down the slope every time the pet attempts to bear weight. This creates the instability mentioned earlier.
- Tibial Plateau Leveling removes the slope and allows the femur to ride on a level plateau. This eliminates pain and stress on the joint once healing has taken place.
- This approach to correction is unique as all other procedures attempted to replace the torn ligament, or provide stability techniques that took over the load that an intact cruciate performed. None of these procedures came close to producing the success of the newer TPLO surgery.
- Following surgery, 90% - 95% of dogs regain normal or near normal use of the limb. This allows working dogs (hiking, rescue, police dogs, etc...) to return to work.
- Dogs can develop severe degenerative changes producing lameness without ever rupturing a cruciate ligament. People require knee replacement for this reason. We have operated on such dogs producing significant improvement in pain reduction and mobility. By performing a TPLO procedure, a reduction in stresses and strains of an inherently poorly formed joint can be very beneficial.
Dr. Leadbeater has performed TPLO for several years , with an exceptional success rate. If your pet has experienced any sudden hind leg pain or lameness, or you simply desire further information on the TPLO procedure, we will be more than happy to schedule a consultation with Dr. Leadbeater.
If you would like to learn more about TPLO
and your pet's available treatment options, please do not hesitate to get in touch!