Clinical comparison of a novel extracapsular stabilization procedure and tibial plateau leveling osteotomy for treatment of cranial cruciate ligament deficiency in dogs

Vet Surg. 2010 Apr;39(3):315-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2010.00658.x. Epub 2010 Mar 19.


Objective: To develop and test a novel extracapsular technique, TightRope CCL technique (TR), and compare its 6-month clinical outcomes to tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) in dogs with cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) deficiency.

Study design: Prospective clinical cohort study.

Animals: Medium, large, and giant breed dogs (n=47) with CCL deficiency.

Methods: Before clinical use, TR was evaluated by mechanical testing and the surgical technique was developed and evaluated in canine cadavers. For the clinical study, dogs were assigned to either TR (n=24) or TPLO (n=23) groups and the assigned technique performed after arthroscopic assessment and treatment of joint pathology. Postoperative management was standardized for both groups. Outcome measures were performed immediately postoperatively and up to 6 months after surgery and included complication types and rate, subjective measurement of cranial drawer and tibial thrust, subjective assessment of radiographic progression of osteoarthritis (OA), and function using a validated client questionnaire (6 months only).

Results: TR with a fiber tape suture had superior mechanical properties for creep, stiffness, yield load, and load at failure. Duration of anesthesia, total surgical time, and stabilization procedure (TR versus TPLO) were all significantly (P<.001) shorter for TR compared with TPLO. Complications requiring further treatment occurred in 12.5% of TR cases and 17.4% of TPLO cases. No significant differences were noted between groups for cranial tibial thrust, but cranial drawer was significantly (P<.05) lower in TR stifles at all postoperative time points. No significant differences were noted between groups for radiographic OA scores. No statistically or clinically significant differences were noted between TR and TPLO for scores for each of the client questionnaire categories.

Conclusions: TR resulted in 6-month outcomes that were not different than TPLO in terms of radiographic progression of OA and client-evaluated level of function. TR was associated with shorter anesthesia and surgery times as well as a lower complication rate.

Clinical relevance: The TR technique is safe and effective and can be considered an appropriate surgical option as part of the overall treatment plan for CCL deficiency in dogs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Dog Diseases / surgery*
  • Dogs / surgery
  • Osteotomy / methods
  • Osteotomy / veterinary*
  • Postoperative Care / veterinary
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stifle / physiopathology
  • Stifle / surgery
  • Tibia / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology