Step 5: Why TPLO
The tibial plateau leveling osteotomy has been performed for well over 20 years and has nearly 200 scientific articles establishing its success. A quarter circle cut (osteotomy) is made into the top of the tibia and the bone is rotated to flatten the tibial plateau slope from the average of 25° to approximately 5°. A bone plate and screws are then used to keep the bone in the right place until it heals. This leveling turns the top of the tibia into a flat surface and prevents any sliding caused by weight-bearing. Although this is perceived to be an invasive procedure, your pet will bear weight on the limb within a few days of surgery and significantly faster than other procedures. Until the bone heals, which is generally the first 6-8 weeks after surgery, the metal plate and screws are holding the bone in place. When that bone is healed the plate and screws, although designed to stand for life, are no longer necessary. Approximately 3% of patients will need to have the plate removed due to infection or irritation. With TPLO, 90% to 95% of dogs will have a good to excellent outcome where they were able to run, jump and play without noticeable lameness. 5% to 10% of patients will not reach the level of function that we hoped for. Even if your pet suffers a complication such as an infection or a late injury to the meniscus they can still have a good long-term outcome with further treatments.