Effect of cranial cruciate ligament deficiency, tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, and tibial tuberosity advancement on contact mechanics and alignment of the stifle in flexion

Vet Surg. 2010 Apr;39(3):363-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2010.00655.x.


Objective: To assess contact mechanics and 3-dimensional (3-D) joint alignment in cranial cruciate ligament (CCL)-deficient stifles before and after tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) and tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) with the stifle in 90 degrees of flexion.

Study design: In vitro biomechanical study.

Sample population: Cadaveric pelvic limb pairs (n=8) from dogs weighing 28-35 kg.

Methods: Contralateral limbs were assigned to receive TPLO or TTA. Digital pressure sensors were used to measure femorotibial contact area, peak and mean contact pressure, and peak pressure location with the limb under a load of 30% body weight and stifle flexion angle of 90 degrees . 3-D poses were obtained using a Microscribe digitizer. Specimens were tested under normal, CCL deficient, and treatment conditions.

Results: Significant disturbances in alignment were not observed after CCL transection, although medial contact area was 10% smaller than normal (P=.003). There were no significant differences in contact mechanics or alignment between normal and TTA conditions; TPLO induced 6 degrees varus angulation (P<.001), 26% decrease in lateral peak pressure (P=.027), and 18% increase in medial mean pressure (P=.008) when compared with normal.

Conclusion: Cranial tibial subluxation is nominal in CCL-deficient stifles loaded in flexion. Stifle alignment and contact mechanics are not altered by TTA, whereas TPLO causes mild varus and a subsequent increase in medial compartment loading.

Clinical relevance: Cranial tibial subluxation of CCL-deficient stifles may not occur during postures that load the stifle in flexion. The significance of minor changes in loading patterns after TPLO is unknown.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / physiopathology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Dog Diseases / physiopathology
  • Dog Diseases / surgery*
  • Dogs / physiology
  • Dogs / surgery
  • Osteotomy / methods
  • Osteotomy / veterinary*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Stifle / physiopathology
  • Stifle / surgery*
  • Tibia / surgery*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology