What is a TPLO Surgery for a Dog?

TPLO stands for tibial plateau leveling osteotomy and is a common surgical procedure for treatment of a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in the dog.

What is a TPLO Surgery for a Dog?

TPLO stands for tibial plateau leveling osteotomy and is a common surgical procedure for treatment of a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in the dog.


Dr. Vanessa Serratore, Veterinary Surgeon at Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center, explains what a TPLO Surgery is.

Schedule your surgical consultation at Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center, today.  No referral from your general practitioner is needed to schedule a consultation at our veterinary hospital.

Our Multi-Modal Surgical Management ensures that your our team of veterinary professionals is working towards a comprehensive recovery for your dog. We will work with your primary care provider to ensure continuity of care for your pet.

As Alaska's small animal hospital, we are able to provide advanced pain control for every case. Additionally, we can provide post-surgical rehabilitation via hydrotherapy, laser therapy, acupuncture and general conditioning for your dog.


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TPLO stands for tibial plateau leveling osteotomy and is a common surgical procedure for treatment of a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in the dog. The CCL is equivalent to the human ACL and is one of many ligaments that stabilizes the knee joint during motion.

When the CCL ligament is ruptured, a shifting motion occurs in the joint that causes pain and instability when walking. Because this ligament will never heal, the treatment of choice for maximum comfort and stability is surgery and often involves the use of a plate and screws.




The TPLO is a well-known and well-used surgery that alters the biomechanics of the knee joint to eliminate the need for the CCL altogether. Essentially, it eliminates the shifting motion in the knee that occurs when the CCL is ruptured.

This is achieved by making a curved cut (osteotomy) all the way through the top of the tibia bone and rotating it to eliminate the natural downward slope (plateau) of the top of the tibia. Leveling this slope, eliminates the instability.

The “fracture” that is created in the tibia is held together with a plate and screws. Unlike the ligament, the fracture will heal in time. Once the fracture is healed, the implants are no longer needed. However, they typically remain on the bone unless there is a future reason for removal.

Because the TPLO procedure is permanent, removing the plate will not “undo” the benefits of surgery. Most dogs do very well with this procedure and are able to run and jump again once they have healed.


Hospitalization and Medical Boarding available for patients who may need pre and post operative care.

Post-surgical rehabilitation services are available.

Available recovery services:

  • Post-surgical rehabilitation,
  • underwater treadmill,
  • laser therapy,
  • acupuncture,
  • general conditioning.


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