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Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)

This procedure is one of several surgical therapies that may be recommended to address a CCL Injury.

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What is the purpose of a TPLO?

The goal of the TPLO is to correct the abnormal instability of the knee joint.

How is a TPLO procedure done?

This procedure involves making a calculated cut in and rotation of the top of the shin bone (tibia) to reorient the joint so that other ligaments and supportive structures take over the stabilizing role of the cranial cruciate ligament.  Stabilizing the knee joint reduces pain, inflammation, and slows the development of arthritis. If a meniscal tear is present at the time of surgery, a meniscectomy is performed to treat this source of pain as well to remove the damaged fragments. 

What are some of the benefits or challenges to a TPLO?

Studies have shown that dogs have the quickest and most complete recovery to normal limb use following TPLO surgery by measuring how much force is placed on the operated leg over time. However, dogs must be strictly rested for 6-8 weeks after surgery, and cannot return to normal, unrestricted activity levels until 3 months after surgery to ensure normal bone healing. This procedure is ideal for larger dogs, and dogs with an active lifestyle, to maximize their return to normal limb function.   Risks of this surgery include implant failure and implant infection. Abiding by post-operative activity restriction is crucial for uncomplicated healing.


  • E-collar at all times for 2 weeks, until skin incision check.

  • Post-operative activity restriction is crucial for normal healing

    • Weeks 1-4: strict kennel rest, leash walks only

      • NO off-leash activity allowed​

    • Weeks 4-8: increasing duration of leash walks, swimming​

      • NO off-leash activity allowed​

    • Week 8: Recheck x-rays to evaluate bone healing

      • Weeks 8-12: increasing duration of leash walks​

  • Monitor the incision for signs of swelling, pain, or discharge.

  • Recheck x-rays 2 months after surgery to evaluate for normal healing 

  • Pain medication and antibiotics will be prescribed.

  • Medical management(LINK) is continued after surgery to maximize patient outcomes and support long-term joint health.

  • Like humans, animals benefit from post-operative rehabilitation exercises. You can perform some exercises at home, or have your pet seen by a veterinary rehabilitation clinic to strengthen muscles and speed recovery.   

TPLO aftercare
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