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TTA Surgery for Dogs with Cruciate Ligament Rupture

Cruciate Ligament tears are relatively common in dogs and Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) surgery can be an effective treatment. Our Gaithersburg vets explain everything you need to know about the procedure.

A Dog's Cranial Cruciate Ligament

The cranial cruciate ligament, found in a dog's knee, serves as a vital connection between the femur and tibia. This band of connective tissue lets the knee to function as it should by allowing movement between the bones located above and below the knee. Unfortunately, the ligament is highly susceptible to injury.

Dogs and humans both experience similar ligament injuries. Dogs can rupture their cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), and humans are also prone to ACL tears.

Dogs can have a sudden rupture or a gradual tearing of their cruciate ligament. A gradual tearing can worsen over time until a complete rupture happens.

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) Surgery

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) is a more gentle approach compared to other surgical methods used for treating a torn CCL.

During TTA surgery, the surgeon cuts and separates the front part of the tibia from the rest of the bone. Then, screw in a specialized orthopedic spacer to bridge the gap between the two sections of the tibia. This will push the front section forward and upward. This improves the alignment of the patellar ligament along the front of the knee, reducing abnormal sliding movement. After completing this process, the surgeon will attach a bone plate will to secure the front section of the tibia.

Dogs with a steep tibial plateau often undergo Tibial Tuberosity Advancement surgery. Your vet will assess the geometry of your dog's knee to determine if TTA surgery is the most suitable surgery for your dog's torn CCL. 

What does TTA surgery for dogs involve?

Your vet will start by assessing your dog's knee to determine the extent of the injury, its severity, and if TTA surgery is the best option. 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 need sedation or a light anesthesia for this)

The vet could schedule the surgery either on the same day as these tests or at a later date.

The vet will administer anesthesia to your dog during their surgery, along with painkillers and antibiotics. Before the surgery begins, the vet will make a small cut or incision in the knee to allow for inspection of its internal structures. They remove the damaged parts of the cartilage and trim any remaining ruptured ligaments.

After your dog's surgery, they will take X-rays to assess the angle of the top of the shin bone (tibial plateau) in relation to the patellar tendon. They will also examine the position of the implant. 

Your dog may receive a bandage after the surgery, and it is common for patients to be able to go home the day after their TTA procedure.

After Surgery Care

It may take several months for your dog to recover from their surgery. Thus, it is crucial to follow the post-operative care instructions your vet provides. After your dog's surgery, the vet will send them home with a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers. Your dog may need to wear an Elizabethan collar while the incision site heals if they have a habit of licking their wound. 

Make sure to schedule a visit to your vet in the first few weeks after your dog's surgery. This will allow the vet to check-in on the recovery process and take out any sutures if necessary. 

Restricting your dog's activity and movements is crucial for their recovery. Keep them on a leash at all times to prevent running, climbing stairs, and jumping. Keep your pup in a small room or pen when they are off their leash to prevent these movements. You can gradually increase your dog's activity and movement after several weeks.

After about 6 to 8 weeks have gone by, you will have a follow-up appointment with your veterinarian. Your vet will check the function of your dog's leg, take X-rays to assess the healing of the cut bone, and advise you about increasing your dog's activity. Your vet may recommend more tests and evaluations based on your dog's individual case. 

The Benefits of TTA Surgery in Dogs

There are many benefits for dogs that have their torn CCL treated with Tibial Tuberosity Advancement surgery. These include:

  • 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, there are several complications associated with TTA surgery including:

  • Infections
  • Fractures
  • Loosening implants

In a small percentage of dogs who have had TTA surgery without any cartilage injury, there is a potential complication. These dogs may later tear their CCL and need a second surgery to remove the torn cartilage.

How much does TTA surgery cost for dogs?

The cost of TTA surgery for dogs can vary based on factors like the dog's size and the severity of the condition. Consulting with a veterinarian will provide you with an accurate estimate tailored to your dog's specific needs.

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 they have a ruptured cruciate ligament, contact our Gaithersburg vets to talk about treatment options or discuss whether TTA surgery is right for your dog.

New Patients Welcome

Veterinary Referral Associates is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Gaithersburg companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact (301) 926-3300