Stifle procedures

Cruciate disease

Conservative management

Conservative treatment is rarely indicated for cruciate ligament disease. Exceptions may include cases where there are any other contra-indications for surgery. Dogs weighing less than 10kg may respond positively to conservative treatment in some circumstances. Intermittent or on-going lameness is commonly seen in cases where conservative treatment is chosen.

Meniscal surgery

The meniscus is cartilage pad present within the stifle that is responsible for a number of important roles including shock absorption and stabilisation of the joint. The cartilage can be injured. This results in pain and lameness. During stifle surgery the cartilage is examined and removed (known as a partial menisectomy) if necessary.


TPLO: pre-opTPLO: post op

Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy is a surgery commonly used to treat cranial cruciate ligament rupture.

The procedure involves cutting the tibia, rotating it and stabilising it in a new position with a metal plate and screws.
TPLO is one of the most commonly performed surgeries for cranial cruciate ligament rupture in the dog.

1. Following clinical examination special X rays are taken of the knee joint and tibia. This allows assessment and measurement of the tibial plateau angle as well as assessment of the amount of arthritis. The X rays also allow surgical planning.

2. The knee joint is surgically approached and the cruciate ligament and menisci are examined.

3. A jig is applied to the limb and an oscillating circular saw is used to cut the top of the tibia bone.

4. The bone is rotated and reattached in the levelled position using a locking plate and locking screws for maximum stability at the osteotomy site.

5. Following closure of the surgical site X-rays are taken to assess positioning of the implants and the post-operative tibial plateau angle.







Tibial wedge ostectomy

Tibial wedge ostectomy

The tibial plateau can also be levelled by removing a wedge of bone from the tibia and closing the gap. The principles behind the surgery are similar to the TPLO.







Extracapsular stifle stabilisation (lateral fabellotibial suture)

This technique relies on stabilisation of the cranial cruciate ligament deficient stifle by fibrosis for long term stability. The method is reported to result in satisfactory outcomes in 86% of cases.

Prognosis for cruciate disease

Generally dogs with cruciate ligament or meniscal injury respond well to surgery. Development of osteoarthritis in affected knee joints is inevitable. This can result in on-going stiffness and a persistent lameness. Most cases however recovery well from surgery and return to normal or very near normal function.​In cases where arthritis progresses (either as a result of cruciate ligament rupture or other conditions of the stifle) and lameness and pain is persistent a total knee replacement is an option.

Patellar Luxation

Treatment options

osteotomy to treat patellar luxation

Treatment of patellar luxation typically involves surgery as erosion of the patella and trochlear can occur and progress. This can lead to arthritis. Surgery may not be recommended if an animal does not show any clinical signs of the condition.

The main types of surgery involved in the treatment of the condition include:

i) Deepening of the groove in which the patellar runs (known as a trochleoplasty).

ii) Re-aligning the quadriceps (tibial tuberosity transposition).

iii) Straightening of the bone (osteotomy).

The prognosis for patellar luxation is generally good however animals will develop arthritis.
This often does not cause lameness.





Total knee replacement

Total knee replacement

stifle pre optotal knee replacement

Total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is a major surgical procedure. Reasons for performing the procedure include advanced arthritis or a traumatic knee injury leading to ongoing pain and poor limb function. Prior to performing the procedure it is important to consider all options as it is a major operation and there is no ‘going back’.

Surgery involves making an incision over the knee joint and removing the damaged knee joint and replacing it with a prosthetic implant. We use Biomedtrix implants. Follow the link to see a video of the technique used.

As with all major surgery there can be risks associated with the procedure therefore the pros and the cons need to be considered. These will all be discussed thoroughly at the time of consultation. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss the suitability of a case.