TPLO stands for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. This is a specific orthopedic surgery used to treat dogs with ruptured cranial cruciate ligaments. The cruciate ligament is part of the knee structure and gives stability to the joint. You may have also heard the ruptured ligament called an “ACL” tear, which is the term for a similar condition in humans – think of the athlete with an ACL tear or meniscal tear.
TPLO was first developed in the 1980s by an innovative veterinary surgeon, Dr. Slocum, and has been modified and improved ever since. Although there are many different surgical methods to treat cranial cruciate ligament tears in dogs, TPLO has shown to be a shining star among them.
TPLO is an especially good treatment option for very active dogs and very large dogs that have torn the ligament, but it can be performed in any size or type of dog with very good results.
The procedure is all related to physics, forces, vectors and angles. So, don’t ever believe it that you don’t use what you learn in grade school!
In a nut shell, the surgery involves cutting off the top part of the tibia bone, rotating it, and then reattaching it in place with a specially designed plate and screws in order to change the angle between the tibia and femur bone. This provides stability.
Then after weeks to months of recovery, rehabilitation, and generally taking it easy – this is a broken bone that needs to heal, after all! – your dog will return to near (but not perfect) normal function. That’s the goal – no more limping or pain and being able to run and be active again.
Studies have shown that TPLO dogs return to function faster, they develop less joint arthritis, and they tend to return to better functional levels than is seen with other techniques.
We now offer TPLO at Steeples Veterinary Clinic