The Fundamentals

The TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery is designed to repair the most common knee ligament injury seen in dogs. About one million canines undergo surgery from this injury every year in the US. Dog knees and human knees are structurally very similar. Your vet will likely refer to your dog's knee as the "stifle joint". Serious injury to the stifle joint is very painful, and often can only be repaired with surgery. This very common injury affects a component of the knee referred to as the cranial cruciate ligament

A successful TPLO will restore the knee's function and get your dog out of pain.1

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Superior Success

Numbers don't lie, the TPLO works.

Surgeons report that the TPLO delivers an amazing 90% or greater success rate. Other similar procedures cannot make this claim. A more consistent outcome provides further peace of mind that your pet will return to the daily routine of chasing tennis balls, catching frisbees and going on walks all without pain. This is especially appealing for active dogs who naturally crave exercise. From couch potatos to police K9's, the TPLO performs. Note that human knee surgery is only 80% successful.

Rapid Recovery

The TPLO is one of the fastest healing procedures performed on the knee.

Many other competing knee surgeries require extended down-time for your “I hate to be caged up” pooch. Most TPLO surgeons will recommend regular leashed walks and freedom within the house only four weeks after surgery. Though not fully healed after four weeks, life is not far from normal from this point on.

Most Dogs are Good Candidates

While many other procedures have limitations based on weight, size and other variables, the TPLO is extremely versatile in all aspects.

Your dog could be a 350lb mastiff, an 8lb Chihuahua, have curved legs, straight legs, a knee cap luxation, or other orthopedic issues and still be a great candidate for a TPLO. Even a dog that has gone through a failed knee surgery can have that failure corrected with a TPLO. This is due to the unique approach the TPLO utilizes to repair the knee. Read about the TPLO concept to learn more.

The TPLO Concept

Think of the knee as a joint that supports your dog’s weight. When standing, running or jumping, body weight is shared by the bones and ligaments of the knee. Most knee injuries cause partial or full rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament. When this ligament tears, the knee can no longer support your dog's weight, causing pain and reducing activity. The TPLO concept is to change the physics of the knee so that the bone takes over for the forces previously shared by the bone and cranial cruciate ligament. Because bones are much tougher than ligaments, this change fixes the knee for the lifetime of your pet.

The TPLO surgery completely bypasses the need for the cranial cruciate ligament which results in the following:

  • Knee function is restored without the need to replace the ligament
  • Complication rate is low
  • Recovery time is minimized
  • Severe pain is eliminated
  • Most dogs are good candidates
  • Results are permanent

1. Slocum B, Slocum TD: Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy for repair of cranial cruciate ligament rupture in the canine. Vet Clin North Am: Small Anim Pract 23:777–795, 1993