Cranial Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Repair

It’s extremely common for dogs, especially older and overweight dogs, to rupture their cranial cruciate ligaments. This ligament is found in the knee and its human equivalent is the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. When a dog ruptures this ligament, their knee joint becomes unstable and they can no longer walk on the affected limb. Because ACL tears cause such significant mobility issues for pets, it’s important to get these injuries treated as quickly as possible.

Dr. Preston Stubbs, a certified veterinary surgeon, performs orthopedic surgeries like cranial cruciate ligament repairs at Overland Animal Hospital & Pet Resort. The three methods he uses for ACL repairs in dogs are:

  • Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)
  • Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA)
  • Extracapsular (Lateral Suture) Repair

Dr. Stubbs has years of experience in all three of these procedures, and he will consult with you about the preferred method for your pet. The best surgical option for your particular dog will depend on the severity of the injury and the size and age of your dog.

Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)

The Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) method of ACL repair is similar to the TTA procedure in that the bones of the knee joint are rearranged to eliminate the need for the cranial cruciate ligament. However, in the TPLO procedure, the cut is made in the weight-bearing portion of the tibia, so this surgery requires more postoperative recovery time and physical therapy. However, it is still a highly effective procedure for repairing ACLs, and this recovery time is not a problem for many dogs, especially younger, smaller dogs.

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA)

The Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) method of ACL repair is a great option for larger dogs. During the procedure, the tibia is repositioned so the cranial cruciate ligament is no longer needed to stabilize the knee. A steel plate is used to keep the bone in its new position. Dogs tend to heal and return to normal function very quickly after TTA procedures.

Extracapsular (Lateral Suture) Repair

Extracapsular, or lateral suture, repair is a procedure that occurs outside the knee joint. In this surgery, the ligament and any damaged cartilage are removed from the knee, and a strong suture is used to replace the cranial cruciate ligament. This keeps the bones from shearing against each other. This method of ACL repair tends to be best for dogs under 40 pounds, and it’s often the least expensive procedure of the three. However, it is the most prone to failure. If the knee is not allowed to fully heal, the suture can rupture, too, requiring another surgery.

To schedule a consultation for cranial cruciate ligament repair, call Overland Animal Hospital & Pet Resort at 303-547-1670.