Torn Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Surgery in Dogs

West Suburban's Dr. Gary Thompson is a Board Certified Specialist in Canine and Feline Practice whose areas of professional interest include orthopedics and minimally-invasive surgery. Dr. Thompson is the only veterinarian in the Toledo area performing three procedures that are designed to help dogs with cruciate injuries of the knee: Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO), CORA-based Leveling Osteotomy (CBLO)and Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA). He has performed thousands of these surgeries on dogs of all sizes and on a wide range of ages and conditions, including on dozens of area veterinarians' dogs.

A ruptured ligament in the knee, called an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans or cranial cruciate ligament (CrCl) in dogs is one of the most common orthopedic problems that our furry family members can encounter. 

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Torn Cruciate ACL Corrections

What does a Torn Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CrCl) mean? 

The Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CrCl or ACL) is the main ligament stabilizing the knee joint.  It connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone) and prevents the lower leg from sliding forward. Tearing of the ligament can occur in young and old dogs alike and short term is a very painful injury that if untreated leads to severe arthritic changes in the knee.

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Have you been referred to us by your primary veterinarian? Please read our referral policy and bring the following to your consultation:

  • Any recent radiographs or blood work from your family veterinarian
  • Any current medications your pet is taking
  • A completed referral form

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What are the options to treat a Torn Cranial Cruciate Ligament?

There are three main and effective methods to provide stability to the canine knee. A Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) , a Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA), or a lateral suture/imbrications (LSS).

TPLOThe TPLO neutralizes the thrust of the knee by rotating the tibial plateau and making it more level, essentially making the CrCl unnecessary. The TPLO and the TTA have been shown to minimize the progression of arthritis and are the best of the available treatments. The doctors will discuss each case with you and make a recommendation of which surgery is best for your dog and why. 

ttaThe TTA is a geometric modifying procedure where the attachment of the patellar tendon is advanced to 90 degrees from the tibial plateau. This allows the quadriceps muscles of the thigh to keep the knee stable. Some dogs are not candidates for this procedure and a TPLO or CBLO may be the best choice. 

cbloThe CBLO, or CORA-Based TPLO procedure is a newer variation on the traditional TPLO, which incorporates the benefits of the TPLO and TTA procedures. We are the only hospital in the area equipped and trained to perform this cutting-edge technique. A curved cut is employed in the upper part of the tibia and rotated to eliminate the forward thrust that occurs in dogs with a torn cruciate ligament. This procedure is also helpful in patients with specific anatomy that might not make them a candidate for the TPLO/TTA procedure. Dr. Thompson will take measurements off of X-rays to determine what procedure is best for you and your pet. 

lssThe lateral suture technique involves placement of a polypropylene line around the outside of the knee joint to stabilize the leg from front to back. It is ideal for smaller dogs, typically under 40 pounds. Over time, the surrounding tissues of the knee stabilize, and good return to function in small dogs can be expected.