Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)

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Cranial Cruciate Ligament

There are several surgical options commonly used to treat patients with cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) injury. For most patients TPLO surgery is the best surgical option. We perform all commonly done repairs for torn cranial cruciate ligament. Our doctors will advise you regarding which type of surgical repair is best for your pet.

Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) is an advanced surgical procedure performed on dogs to repair the cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL). Similar to an ACL in humans, this ligament supports the knee by preventing the femur from sliding against the tibia. This constant tension leaves the CrCL highly vulnerable to injury, resulting in one of the most common orthopedic injuries in dogs.

When the ligament is ruptured, the knee is almost completely destabilized, severely reducing mobility and leading to pain and inflammation. Dogs are unable to bear their full weight on the affected leg and will walk with a pronounced limp. If left untreated, this injury will lead to chronic pain, stiffness, limping, and arthritis in the joint.

How TPLO Surgery Works

A TPLO procedure works by restructuring the bone interaction within the knee to stabilize the joint. This innovative surgery alters the slope of the tibia plateau where the tibia articulates with the femur allowing the joint to function normally without the CrCL being present. A curved bone incision (osteotomy) is made in the tibia allowing the proximal tibial articular surface to be rotated to a new angle that prevents slippage in the knee (stifle). Upon achieving the desired angle, a stainless steel bone plate implant is attached to the bone across the osteotomy to hold it in place and allow the surgery to heal correctly. By leveling the tibial plateau, the femur is no longer able to slide against the tibia and cause damage, creating a load bearing stable joint without the cranial cruciate ligament.


Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy is a major surgical procedure that requires an initial recovery period of 8 weeks to allow for bone healing at the osteotomy site. Patients require exercise restriction during this period. After this initial period patients are able to have gradually increasing amounts of exercise based on how they are doing. Our veterinarian will advise you about the amount of exercise your pet can have at various stages of healing. Pain relief medications are prescribed following the procedure to manage discomfort. Pets must wear a collar to prevent licking the incision for the first two weeks following surgery.

Your pet’s comfort is very important to us. We will send home a full and detailed list of instructions for care after surgery. It is not complicated. We will go over all of these directions with you. Your pet will be able to get up and down and go outside to go the bathroom after surgery. Patients need to be on a leash when going outside after surgery however to make sure they do not try to run before the osteotomy site is healed. Regular veterinary postoperative checkups including follow-up x-rays will monitor your pet’s recovery. The cost of your pet’s postoperative recheck examinations and postoperative x-rays are included in the price of TPLO surgery. We want you to call us if you have any questions after your pet’s surgery at Bethany Family Pet Clinic.