Tightrope Surgery vs. Extracapsular or Traditional Repair

How is Tightrope CCL Different from Extracapsular Imbrication or Traditional Repair?

Compare CCL Surgery Options for Dog Ligament

The major difference between extracapsular imbrication/traditional repair methods and tightrope ccl is the way in which the knee joint is stabilized.  In a traditional CCL repair, a leader line (suture, or you can also think of this as a fishing line) is woven across the knee in a figure-eight pattern, connecting a bony protrusion on the femur to a small hole drilled in the top of the tibia.  The veterinary surgeon is able to access the knee through an incision on the knee a few inches long.   During the healing process, the leader line serves as a temporary way to stabilize the knee while scar tissue forms.  Eventually the leader line will break, and the scar tissue is solely responsible for providing knee joint stability.

In tightrope repair, a stronger material called Fiber Tape is used to connect bone to bone.  The FiberTape is held in place on the bone via metal anchors and small holes drilled through the bone.  The surgeon makes a few small incisions to access the points of attachment to the bone.  While the Fiber Tape will eventually degrade and possibly break over time, it is thought of as a superior material for larger dogs due to its greater durability and strength – buying your dog more recovery time.  While in place the Fiber Tape will act to control tibial thrust and prevents the cranial drawer sign, while allowing your dog to maintain full range of motion.

Both traditional repair and tightrope are considered to be minimally invasive procedures when compared to other surgical options like TTA and TPLO, which both involve cutting and changing of bone angles.

One thought on “Tightrope Surgery vs. Extracapsular or Traditional Repair

  1. What if you want to do either surgery, but your dog has Subaceous adentitis which is a immune system issue? How would this affect decisions on surgery?

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