Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)

The knee joint (or stifle joint) in dogs is in most respects very similar to our own. All of the problems that occur in our knees also can occur in dogs. These include meniscal injury, anterior, or cranial cruciate tears and ruptures.

There is one important difference, however. In dogs a significant slope exists at the top of the tibia. The femur, or thigh bone, wants to slip down that slope, but the cranial cruciate ligament prevents it – like an anchor or guy rope holding it back. The most common cause of sudden onset of lameness in the hind legs of dogs is the tearing of the cranial cruciate ligament. This rupture produces severe instability in the stifle joint, that is inflammatory and painful. Within 4 weeks of an unattended ruptured ligament, x-rays show the beginning of arthritic development.

Surgical procedures to recreate stability in the joint have changed and evolved over the past 50 years. However, the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, or TPLO, has proved to be most successful to date, in correcting the problem and preventing ongoing development of arthritis. Tibial Plateau Leveling removes the slope and allows the femur to ride on a level plateau. This eliminates pain and stress on the joint once healing has taken place. Following surgery, 90% – 95% of dogs regain normal or near normal use of the limb. This allows working dogs (hiking, rescue, police dogs, etc…) to return to work.

Dogs can develop severe degenerative changes producing lameness without ever rupturing a cruciate ligament. Some dogs, just as some people, have poorly formed joints. People require knee replacement for this reason. We have operated on such dogs producing significant improvement in pain reduction and mobility. By performing a TPLO procedure, a reduction in stresses and strains of an inherently poorly formed joint can be very beneficial.

Dr. Leadbeater has performed over 500 TPLO procedures , with an exceptional success rate. If your pet has experienced any sudden hind leg pain or lameness, or you simply desire further information on the TPLO procedure, we will be more than happy to schedule a consultation with Dr. Leadbeater.

Contact us for more information on the TPLO Procedure


Dog knee bone x-ray with TPLO in place
Dr. Leadbeater performing a TPLO Surgery

Client Testimonial:

We brought our dog Koa here for TPLO surgery. Dr. Leadbeater took the time to explain the procedure to us and answer all of our questions. He’s very personable and takes the time to put you at ease. We had to bring Koa back for her other leg and they gave us the same great service. The staff shows a lot of care for your loved one and they are all very knowledgeable. I highly recommend using him and Kahala Pet Hospital if you need TPLO for your dog.

Ann L.