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TPLO – Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy

What is a TPLO Surgery?

TPLO stands for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. Basically the TPLO surgery changes the bones of the knee joint to make them work in a different, more “level” manner.

Read More: Is TPLO “Right” For My Dog?

Basic Overview of How the TPLO is Performed

The TPLO surgery begins by making an incision down the length of the leg. The veterinary surgeon will then be able to access the injured cruciate ligament (and possibly meniscus) and begin by removing the severed, torn and/or ruptured ends of the ligament.

When the damaged ligament is removed, a cut is made into the top of the tibia. Measurements are then taken of the tibia and compared to those from the preoperative X-ray. The tibial plateau (flat part at the top of the tibia) is positioned to make the slope of the knee level.

In order to hold this new slope in place, a metal place is screwed into the bone to allow the bone to heal in this new angle. The metal plates placed during a TPLO surgery can be removed later – although, due to the fact this involves another surgery, the plates are not frequently removed.

Read More: How TPLO is Performed

TPLO Recovery Time

Dogs undergoing TPLO surgery generally begin toe touching within 5 days following surgery. At about 2 weeks, most dogs will begin to consistently bear weight on the post surgical leg.

Within 6 to 8 weeks following the procedure there should be signs of the bone healing at the site where the plates were placed (which can be viewed via X-ray). As with ALL surgical CCL repair surgeries, recovery varies from dog to dog, but it is always in your best interest to take things slow over a series of months to avoid re injury or injuring the other leg.

Read More: TPLO Surgery Recovery

Estimated Cost of TPLO Surgery

While the cost varies, you can generally expect to spend $3800-5000+

The cost for TPLO can vary greatly depending on a number of factors including:

Size of Your Dog – Smaller dogs require less; many of the medications, supplies and even the metal used to hold the joint together are calculated based on weight

Geographic Location – Veterinary hospitals and clinics within major cities tend to be more expensive than smaller veterinary offices

Type of Veterinary Facility – Veterinary universities and smaller clinics typically charge less than orthopedic specialty clinics

What is Included – Are you paying ONLY for the surgery, or are post-operative x-rays, visits and medications included?

Read More: TPLO Surgery Cost

Additional Information on TPLO Surgery

The TPLO surgery is often compared to the TTA surgery due to that fact that they both create stability within the joint by manipulating the angle of the bone by surgically altering the tibia bone…

Read More: TPLO vs. TTA

Read Owner Experiences

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Saul – Bilateral TPLO

Saul is a Johnson American Bulldog. He is a big-boned breed he’s 17 months. and 80 lbs. He could not do things I thought he should be able to. He often wined for no reason. Often he would limp. I thought his hips looked narrow for his chest. I brought him to the vet and […]


Marley – Double TPLO Surgery *Update*

I wrote an article here a few months ago on conservative treatment on my two year old chocolate Labrador, Marley, with crucial ligament damage in both back knees. I had been using the holistic approach plus rest , plus weight reduction since October 2018. He weighed 45kilos and I finally got his weight down to […]


Dixie – Double Lateral Suture Stabilization

Dixie is an APBT and weighs 38 lbs. Perfectly proportioned, active and exercised regularly. Yes, she runs, plays, cuts, and turns, chases rats (she is a terrier) and other moving vermin and pulls on rope toys with her “sisters”. One morning, during play, we heard the back ligament snap. No pain, but she is a […]


Chubi Shitzu/Pincher/Pug

Chubi is now 7 tears old. About a year ago, I noticed that Chubi was limping. At one point she was unable to get up the stairs. I went to the vet and they recommended some muscle relaxants and that the dog only have short walks for about 2 weeks. This seemed to work and […]