What does it mean to you and your pet?
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO), is a surgery that involves stabilizing the stifle joint in dogs. The stifle joint is essentially what would be considered the knee in a human being, and the cranial cruciate ligament in a dog would relate to the anterior cruciate ligament in a person. When that ligament ruptures, TPLO is done to make the joint more stable and help repair damage. Accidental injury and long-term degeneration are two reasons why this ligament would rupture, but there can also be other causes.
The rupture of the ligament can result in instability, but it also causes a great deal of pain. If it is not treated, arthritis can develop in the stifle, making the dog even more uncomfortable. Rather than allow that to take place, it is better to treat the problem early and correct it as soon as possible.
How is TPLO Performed?
When TPLO is done, the part of the tibia that is closest to the stifle joint is cut and rotated. That gives it a 5 degree slope and stops the femur from sliding along the tibial plateau. When the dog steps down and weight is put on the knee, the femur does not slide, so there is no pain. There are other ways that the dog’s knee can be stabilized, but TPLO is preferred due to its quicker recovery times, and faster healing. More than 90 percent of the dogs who undergo the TPLO procedure return to very active lifestyles and are able to be athletic.
After healed, these dogs can do all the things they used to do without struggling and needing little to no pain medication for long term use. The rapid recovery and high level of success in avoid post-op problems are not the only reasons to use TPLO. Another good reason for this particular type of procedure is that the dog gets a better range of motion than it would typically have with other procedures. That helps the dog have a better and more active life, and can also make it more enjoyable for the dog’s owner.
Working dogs will generally heal well enough to go back to work, and dogs that love to run and play can do those things again, after they recover. Their chances of arthritis will be reduced, and they will have lower incidences of long-term pain in that joint. Because TPLO can be a difficult surgery to learn to perform correctly, it is very important to find a good surgeon who can give you the information you need and who you feel confident with. That helps to ensure the best outcome for your dog.
To schedule an orthopedic consultation with Dr. Kamer please call us at (785) 267-6060.