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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

Share Your Story

Mishka – TPLO Surgery and Recovery

My little 4 year old border collie x Labrador Mishka tore her CCL 10 weeks ago. She was outside absolutely fine and running around and then all of a sudden when I went to bring her dinner, she was limping around with a foot that refused to touch the ground. I was concerned, but assumed […]


ACL Surgery – Ruby

Approximately two years ago, my black lab/pit/boxer started limping in her right back leg. I took her to the vet who said it was an ACL injury. She recommended surgery or possibly a brace. I took her home and tried to think of a way to come up with the money. Some sites said she […]

tplo arthroscopy

TPLO Arthroscopy – Ernie

Hello! Ernie, our 10-year-old kelpie cross was just one night holding his hind leg off the ground and we could see he was in pain. The vet took x-rays 2 days after but couldnt see that anything was going on. They suggested an arthroscopy which we did. I cannot thank these vets enough. A mobile […]

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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 […]