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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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TPLO Surgery Story – Bennett

Late November 2016 My family and I (all 8 of us: 3 kids, 3 dogs, my husband, and I) were enjoying a movie in bed one Friday evening when all of a sudden we noticed our 6-month-old yellow Lab, Bennett, limping on his hind leg. We assumed his leg had fallen asleep so I took […]

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TPLO Recovery – Cora

Around the end of April, I noticed a limp. Suddenly. I thought she had pulled a muscle, so I waited a couple of days. It didn’t go away, so off to the vet she went. They did an exam and determined she had a partial tear (maybe) in her CCL. Pain meds were prescribed for […]

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TPLO Complications – Lexi

Lexi is a two-year-old Lab cross who injured her left knee playing with another dog on April 28, 2017. She was running and made a a quick turn and gave a loud cry and came up lame. I took her to the local vet the next day where they confirmed that she had torn her […]

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TPLO and Stifle Brace – Morti

Morti is now a near 12-year-old, 75-pound, black Lab mix. In March of 2016 he ruptured the CCL of his right leg. It seemed TPLO was the ONLY way to go. The surgeon agreed (obviously) and 3 other area vets. He was healthy enough, still hiking 5 miles and full of energy. The surgery is […]