Tibial plateau leveling operation (TPLO)
The long bones of the leg either side of the knee joint, the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) are held together by a number of ligaments, including the cranial cruciate ligament. In a normal knee joint the cranial cruciate ligament stops the shin bone below the knee moving forward of the thigh bone when weight is placed on the knee. This ligament can be torn or broken (a common injury in footballers) which makes the knee unstable, causing lameness. In dogs however, whilst injury as a result of trauma can occur, the most common reason the cruciate ligament fails is a long standing degenerative condition that gradually weakens the ligament. As the ligament gets weaker it suddenly becomes unable to cope with normal day-to-day activity and it either partially tears or completely tears. There are a number of techniques that can be used to help stabilize the knee after a ligament injury, including a tibial plateau leveling operation (TPLO).