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Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)
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Information about the procedure for referring vets.

The tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO) procedure was developed in the mid 1980’s by Dr Barclay Slocum. The tibial plateau is the term used for the weight bearing surface at the top of the tibia (shin bone). In dogs this is sloped backwards and the cranial cruciate ligament prevents the femur from sliding down this slope during weight bearing.

Surgery addresses the instability, termed tibial thrust, where by the tibia moves forwards and the femur backwards during weight bearing in a cruciate deficient knee (stifle). The aim of TPLO surgery, as the name suggests, is to level the tibial plateau - removing the slope - and thus preventing tibial thrust.

Tibial plateau angles (TPA) tend to range from 22 to 30 degrees, and sometimes steeper. By altering the tibial plateau to 5 degrees the joint dynamics are altered and the requirement for a CrCL is eliminated as the weight through the femur is vertical through the altered tibial plateau.

The surgery itself involves making an arced cut in the tibia and rotating the section a pre-determined amount before securing it in place with a specific plate with locking screws to enable the bone to heal in this revised position.

The TPLO technique has withstood the test of time and since it's inception in the 1980s has become the recognised as a very reliable, effective way, of treating canine CrCL failure.