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Surgical and postoperative complications associated with tibial plateau leveling osteotomy in dogs with cranial cruciate ligament rupture: 397 cases (1998–2001)

Philip D. Pacchiana DVM1,2, Ethan Morris DVM3,4, Sarah L. Gillings DVM5,6, Carl R. Jessen DVM, PhD, DACVR7, and Alan J. Lipowitz DVM, MS, DACVS8
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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 2 Present address is Manhattan Veterinary Group, 240 E 80th St, New York, NY 10021.
  • | 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 4 Present address is Virginia Surgical Referral Practice, 8610 Centerville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110.
  • | 5 Ham Lake-Blaine Pet Clinic, 13060 Central Ave, Blaine, MN 55434
  • | 6 Present address is Broadway Veterinary Hospital, 1824 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122.
  • | 7 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 8 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN 55108.

Abstract

Objective—To identify surgical and postoperative complications of tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) in dogs with rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) and compare their incidence with those reported in the literature for other commonly performed CCL stabilization procedures.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—346 dogs undergoing 397 TPLO procedures.

Procedure—Medical records of dogs undergoing 563 consecutive TPLO procedures were reviewed. Complications were recorded and assigned to groups on the basis of the period during which the complication was observed.

Results—397 TPLOs met the criteria for inclusion in the study. Complications (n = 136) were recorded in 113 of the 397 (28%) procedures. Multiple complications developed in 10 dogs. In 19 dogs, a second surgery was performed to manage complications. Development of a complication after surgery was not associated with age or body weight of the dog, tibial plateau angle prior to stifle joint surgery, or experience of the surgeon. Factors significantly associated with complications were breed and performance of an arthrotomy concomitantly with TPLO.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—TPLO was associated with development of numerous complications, some of which required surgical correction. Most complications resolved with nonsurgical treatment. Several complications were unique to the TPLO procedure because of the surgical technique and implants required. Although TPLO was associated with a greater number of complications than other CCL stabilization methods, the incidence of major complications was similar. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:184–193)