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Orthopedic Surgery

Our clinic performs many orthopedic procedures including emergency fracture repair with plates, screws, pins, and wire of all major bones, corrective bone surgeries and the following stifle surgeries; TPLO, TightRope, Lateral Fabellar Suture, Fast-Tak and Patella Bloc Recession for patella luxation.




TightRope stabilization procedure for torn cranial cruciate ligaments in Dogs

Cranial cruciate ligament rupture in the dog is the most common orthopedic injury that veterinarians see. Although some dogs may do okay without surgery to stabilize the stifle joint, a majority of dogs will require surgery to get back to using the affected leg well. When we start talking surgery to stabilize the knee in dogs, there is more than one technique that can be performed. Which technique that is chosen depends on many variables such as size of the dog, age of the dog, activity level of the dog, financial factors, and even surgeon preference.

As far as the question of is there one “right” technique to stabilizing the knee, the answer is definitively NO! I always tell owners that when there are multiple different surgeries advocated for fixing the same problem and there is no one “best” way to do it. If there was, then there would only be one surgery recommended all the time.

The newest technique that has been introduced as a way to stabilize the cranial cruciate deficient stifle in dogs is the Tightrope Procedure. This procedure was introduced in 2008 by Dr. James Cook, PhD, Diplomate ACVS from the University of Missouri in collaboration with Arthrex Vet Systems, Inc. The TightRope procedure uses a Kevlar braided suture that will not break or stretch under extreme forces. This material is 10x stronger than the traditional nylon that we used to use in cruciate ligament repair.

We recommend this technique for dogs in the 20-60kg (45-130lbs) weight range. Dogs over 130lbs require a TPLO to stabilize the stifle. In dogs less than 45 lbs we use an anchor system with a smaller Fibrewire (Kevlar suture) as their bones are too small to drill holes large enough for the larger braided TightRope suture.

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Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy or “TPLO”

TPLO is another surgical technique used for the treatment of cranial cruciate ligament failure in dogs. When the cranial cruciate ligament ruptures, the tibia slides forwards (cranially) when any weight is put on the foot. This sliding force is affected by the slope of the tibial joint surface and it is known as the “cranial tibial thrust force”. The images below show the tibial plateau slope (Fig 1) and the tibia in its displaced position (Fig 2). If the tibial plateau is surgically altered so as to level this slope then the cranial tibial thrust force is counteracted and the tibia no longer slides forward. Figs 3 and 4 illustrate the way that the slope is leveled with the Slocum technique. A bone plate and screws are used to hold the repositioned tibial plateau in position whilst it heals (this usually takes 8-12 weeks). Plate removal is not usually necessary.


Pet Vet
A-25PTH 52 West
Steinbach Manitoba
R5G 1X6

Ph: 204-326-6562
Fax: 204-346-1801
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