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TTA Surgery for Dogs with Cruciate Ligament Rupture

Cruciate ligament tears are common in dogs. Tibial tuberosity advancement surgery is an effective treatment, which our vets will explain in detail in Torrance.

A Dog's Cranial Cruciate Ligament

The cranial cruciate ligament is one of the two ligaments in a dog's knee. It is a band of connective tissue that connects the femur and tibia (the bones located above and under the knee), allowing the knee to function properly. However, this ligament is also the most prone to injury in dogs. 

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in dogs is similar to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans. Like dogs, humans are often subject to ACL tears. 

A dog's cruciate ligament can either rupture suddenly (acute rupture) or slowly tear, progressively becoming worse until a complete rupture occurs.

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) Surgery

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) surgery is a less invasive procedure used to treat torn CCL in dogs. It is preferable over other types of surgical treatment such as Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery.

During TTA surgery, the front part of the tibia is cut and separated from the rest of the bone. Then, a special orthopedic spacer is inserted and screwed into place to move the front section of the tibia forward and upward, improving the alignment of the patellar ligament and preventing abnormal sliding movement. Finally, a bone plate is attached to hold the front section of the tibia in its proper position.

TTA surgery is typically recommended for dogs with a steep tibial plateau, which is the angle of the top section of the tibia. Your veterinarian will assess your dog's knee geometry to determine if TTA surgery is the best surgical option for your dog's torn CCL.

The cost of TTA surgery for dogs can vary depending on many factors. Contact your veterinarian for a good-faith estimate.

What Does TTA Surgery for Dogs Involve?

Your veterinarian will start by assessing your dog's knee to determine the extent of the injury, its severity, and if Tibial Tuberosity Advancement surgery is the best option for your dog's treatment. Some tests and diagnostics your vet might conduct include:

  • X-rays of the stifle and tibia
  • Laboratory analysis of fluid drawn from the knee
  • Palpation (your dog may be sedated or given light anesthesia for this)

Your dog's surgery may be scheduled on the same day as the tests or at a later date. During the surgery, your dog will be sedated with anesthesia, and your veterinarian will provide painkillers and antibiotics. They will then clip your dog's limb from the hip to the ankle and make a small cut or incision in the knee to inspect its internal structures. The damaged parts of the cartilage will be removed, and any remaining ruptured ligaments will be trimmed. 

At the end of the surgery, X-rays will be taken to evaluate the angle of the top of the shin bone (the tibial plateau) relative to the patellar tendon and to inspect the position of the implant. After the surgery, your dog may be given a bandage, and in most cases, patients can go home the day after their TTA procedure.

After Surgery Care

After your dog's surgery, the rehabilitation process may take several months. Your vet will provide you with post-operative care instructions that you should follow carefully. Your vet will prescribe antibiotics and painkillers to manage the pain and prevent infections. If your dog tends to lick their wound, they may also need to wear an Elizabethan collar while the wound heals.

You should visit your vet during the first few weeks following the surgery to monitor the recovery process and remove any sutures. Your dog's activity should be restricted to toiletry purposes only, and you must keep them on a leash to prevent any running, stair climbing, or jumping. When off their leash, keep your dog in a small room or pen to prevent any unwanted movements. Gradually increase your dog's activity and movement after several weeks have passed.

After approximately 6 to 8 weeks, you will have a follow-up appointment with your veterinarian. Your vet will monitor the function of your dog's leg, take X-rays to assess the healing of the cut bone and provide you with advice about increasing your dog's daily activity. Based on your dog's individual case, additional tests and evaluations may be recommended.

The Benefits of TTA Surgery in Dogs

There are a handful of benefits for dogs that have their torn CCL treated with Tibial Tuberosity Advancement surgery including:

  • Increased range of motion in the knee
  • Faster healing time than with some other surgeries used to treat CCL tears
  • 90% surgery success rate
  • Dogs can return to their normal activities quicker

Risks of TTA Surgery

While the success rate is high and most dogs go on to make a smooth and complete recovery there are several complications associated with TTA surgery including:

  • Infections
  • Fractures
  • Loosening implants

Another possible complication occurs in a very small percentage of dogs that have undergone TTA surgery without having injured cartilage, where they later go on to tear their CCL and require a second surgical procedure to have the torn cartilage removed. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is limping inexplicably or you already know it has a ruptured cruciate ligament, contact our Torrance vets to discuss treatment options or whether TTA surgery is right for your dog.

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