The acronym TPLO stands for tibial plateau leveling osteotomy. This is a surgical procedure performed on dogs who have suffered from a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tear, which is very similar to a human's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The CCL is an important stabilizing structure in your dog's knee which assists in preventing their thigh bone from sliding forward. When the CCL ligament is damaged, it can lead to pain, swelling, arthritis, limping, and loss of mobility due to the instability created within the knee joint.
During the procedure, the surgeon will start by removing the torn pieces of the ligament and make sure that the meniscus (a piece of cartilage in the knee that is commonly injured at the same time as the CCL) is intact and healthy. Next, the surgeon will stabilize the knee by flattening the slope tibia (or leg bone). This is accomplished by cutting the tibia and rotating the bone. The two segments of bone are stabilized with a metal plate and screws, and over the course of a few months, the bones will heal, resulting in a stable knee and pain-free movement.
What Is the Success Rate of a TPLO?
While this surgery sounds invasive - it has been well studied and is one of the most common orthopedic surgeries performed on pets. Most pets recover well and are able to get back to their normal activities once they have completely healed.
Why Is Rehabilitation Recommended after a TPLO?
Rehab is a critical component for helping your dog recover from a CCL injury. Once your dog has ruptured their CCL, studies show that even with immediate surgery, the affected leg can start to lose muscle mass within 2 weeks of injury. When a dog is unable to place full weight on the injured leg, this can lead to compensatory problems in other areas of their body due to overuse, such as muscle soreness and reduced range of motion in their joints. Physical rehabilitation and therapy are geared towards:
- Reducing pain and inflammation
- Restoring normal motion
- Decreasing the probability of secondary injuries from occurring
- Improving strength and muscle mass in the surgical leg
My Surgeon Gave Me Exercises For My Pet for Post Operative Care. Why Would They Also Need Rehabilitation?
We love when surgeons provide you with the fundamental tools to get started with therapy immediately after surgery! However, each pet as an individual may have coinciding health conditions and/or pain in different areas of their body which needs to be addressed to ensure their best recovery. At Pawsitive Strides, Dr. Peterson is able to create a rehabilitation program specifically tailored to your pet's needs and prescribes exercises depending on their ability and current health condition. Her highly trained rehabilitation staff can also utilize massage and a wide variety of other modalities to alleviate your pet's particular areas of pain or discomfort.
Does your pet need help with TPLO recovery? We've got you covered! Give us a call at 515-575-9655 to schedule your initial consultation today.