Effect of tibial plateau leveling on stability of the canine cranial cruciate-deficient stifle joint: an in vitro study

Vet Surg. 2002 Mar-Apr;31(2):147-54. doi: 10.1053/jvet.2002.31041.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of tibial plateau leveling on joint motion in canine stifle joints in which the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) had been severed.

Study design: In vitro cadaver study.

Animals: Six canine cadaver hind legs.

Methods: Radiographs of the stifle joints were made to evaluate the tibial plateau angle with respect to the long axis of the tibia. The specimens were mounted in a custom-made testing device to measure cranio-caudal translation of the tibia with respect to the femur. An axial load was applied to the tibia, and its position was recorded in the normal stifle, after transection of the CCL, and after tibial plateau leveling. Further, the amount of caudal tibial thrust was measured in the tibial plateau leveled specimen while series of eight linearly increasing axial tibial loads were applied.

Results: Transection of the CCL resulted in cranial tibial translation when axial tibial load was applied. After tibial plateau leveling, axial loading resulted in caudal translation of the tibia. Increasing axial tibial load caused a linear increase in caudal tibial thrust in all tibial plateau-leveled specimens.

Conclusions: After tibial plateau leveling, axial tibial load generates caudal tibial thrust, which increases if additional axial load is applied.

Clinical relevance: Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy may prevent cranial translation during weight bearing in dogs with CCL rupture by converting axial load into caudal tibial thrust. The amount of caudal tibial thrust seems to be proportional to the amount of weight bearing.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Dogs / injuries
  • Dogs / surgery*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Rupture / veterinary
  • Stifle / diagnostic imaging
  • Stifle / physiology*
  • Tibia / surgery*