Tibial plateau-leveling osteotomy (TPLO), which was developed 10 years ago, is increasingly being done on dogs for cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury. Few published data are available on complications and outcomes, especially relative to other, more commonly performed CCL-stabilization procedures. These two retrospective studies surveyed several hundred patient records for complications and owner satisfaction following TPLO surgery. The two studies report similar complication rates (approximately 25%), and although the rate was higher than that reported for other commonly used techniques for managing cruciate injuries, many complications were relatively minor. Most resolved with appropriate nonsurgical treatment, although a few required surgical correction. The incidence of major complications was reported to be similar to that of other techniques, and some complications were unique to the procedure, arising from the implants required. Priddy and colleagues reported a high rate (93%) of owner satisfaction regardless of whether complications occurred.

COMMENTARY: Both studies reported that although TPLO was associated with numerous complications, most were relatively minor and resolved with nonsurgical treatment. Although these reports provide important information, long-term objective assessments of outcomes and effectiveness of the procedure are still needed.

Surgical and postoperative complications associated with tibial plateau leveling in dogs with cranial cruciate ligament rupture: 397 cases (1998-2001). Pacchiana PD, Morris E, Gillings SL, Jessen CR, Lipowitz AJ. JAVMA 222:184-193, 2003.

Complications with and owner assessment of the outcome of tibial plateau leveling osteotomy for treatment of cranial cruciate ligament rupture in dogs: 193 cases (1997-2001). Priddy NH II, Tomlinson JL, Dodham JR, Hornbostel JE. JAVMA 222:1726-1732, 2003.