The CrCL tethers the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia) and keeps these two bones in line during walking and running. 

Dogs have a very steep top of their tibia (shin bone), and the measurement of that steep slope is called the tibial plateau angle (TPA). The bottom of the femur is rounded, and thus rolls backwards down the steep angle of the top of the tibia if the CrCL is torn, as the tibia moves forward. This instability of the knee joint causes discomfort and limping and can also lead to a tear in the meniscus (this is a C-shaped cartilage that is between the tibia and femur that cushions the joint). 

The tibial plateau leveling osteotomy changes the very steep angle of the top of the tibia into a flat, level surface for the femur to rest on. This is done by making a bone cut (osteotomy) through the top of the tibia, so that it can be rotated to create a more level surface. The bone cut is held in the proper place by a bone plate and screws.


The prognosis is excellent for dogs undergoing TPLO surgery, and our goal is to get your pet back to normal function after healing is complete. 

Recovery following the TPLO involves ~2 weeks of e-collar (“cone of shame”) use, to prevent licking and chewing of the incision, and 8 weeks of strict activity restriction. 

For orthopedic surgeries (any surgery involving the bones and joints), the incisional healing is about 2-3 weeks and animals must wear the e-collar/cone during this time. Most bones take ~6-8 weeks to heal, so the strict activity restriction described above is needed for ~2 months. X-rays are taken at 6-8 weeks after surgery, and if the bone and joint have healed well your pet can begin to resume normal activity over the next ~4 weeks. We recommend this slow return to function over ~4 weeks because we want to avoid any muscle strains or sprains since they have been resting for a while.