TPLO Knee Surgery FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about TPLO Knee Surgery

If your dog has sustained a knee injury that has left him limping painfully (or avoiding any attempts to walk at all) you may be wondering whether or not he requires surgery to repair a damaged knee. You may also have heard about a specific procedure called TPLO knee surgery. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about this surgery here at Quail Hollow Veterinary Hospital, your trusted animal hospital in Charlotte NC.

golden retriever after TPLO Knee Surgery

What Is TPLO Knee Surgery?

TPLO stands for tibial plateau leveling osteotomy. It's a procedure that alters your dog's knee structure so that the knee can support itself and move comfortably without a functioning cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), the tissue that normally stabilizes the joint.

How Does the CCL Become Damaged?

A dog's knee is constructed as a "hinge" to provide and support forward-backward motion. A sudden change in direction when running can subject the joint to extreme twisting forces that rupture the ligament. Larger, heavier, or obese dogs are at greater risk for such injuries.

What Are the Signs That My Pet Might Have a Ruptured CCL?

If you pet suddenly stops running, cries out in pain, and then refuses to put weight on the injured leg, that's a strong indication that he has ruptured his CCL. The joint itself may also exhibit stiffness, make noises during motion, or become swollen. Our veterinarian will administer X-rays and other tests to confirm the diagnosis.

What Occurs During TPLO Surgery?

Our veterinarian cuts and rotates the top of the tibia, a section known as the tibial plateau. This prevents the femur from sliding backwards under motion and making the knee joint unstable. Most dogs find that they can comfortably support weight on a repaired knee very shortly after the operation.

How Does TPLO Surgery Stack Up Against Other Knee Surgery Options?

TPLO surgery isn't the only option for repairing a knee with a ruptured CCL, but it may be the best option for many patients at our animal hospital. A similar procedure called a TTA (tibial tuberosity advancement) can be highly successful, but also presents a slightly higher risk for long-term cartilage damage. The installation of an artificial ligament on the outside of the joint is usually performed on small dogs, not on larger or more athletic breeds.

Get More Answers from Our Board Certified Surgeon in Charlotte

If you have additional questions about TPLO knee surgery, Quail Hollow Veterinary Hospital is where you'll find the answers. Call our board certified surgeon in Charlotte today at (704) 278-8000!


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