Reduce Joint Damage, Relieve Pain – Cranial Cruciate Ligament: Extracapsular Repair
This procedure is used to help stabilize the knee joint following an injury to the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) and as a result will also help to reduce permanent joint damage and relieve pain. The CCL (also known as anterior cruciate ligament in humans) is a one of several ligaments in the knee that connects the femur bone to the tibia bone and stabilizes the knee from abnormal movements. When torn, the tibia bone can thrust forward when weight is applied to the joint, it can also rotate inwards and over-extend at the knee joint. These abnormal movements are a source of pain when your dog walks and leads to arthritis.
There are several options for treating patients with CCL injuries and for some the extracapsular repair is an appropriate option. This procedure is most successful in patients that are small to medium breed dogs and those who will be amenable to the requirements of post-op care.
This surgery is performed by using a special type of suture material which is positioned at the back of the knee joint and looped through an anchor hole just below the knee. This loop of suture material stabilizes the knee and prevents the tibia from sliding back and forth against the femur. The anchor hole is drilled into the tibia to hold the suture at the front of the knee, a tensioning device is used to tighten the suture to an appropriate degree and then special crimps are used to secure the suture ends together.
During this procedure the joint capsule will be opened to allow inspection of the cartilage meniscus that cushions the joint. If the meniscus is torn the damaged portion will be removed. The joint capsule is then closed and the extracapsular suture is placed as detailed above.
If an animal requires this surgery there will be a plan in place for the recovery period that will involve strict exercise restriction and rehabilitation exercises. This plan is in place to help with healing and to help ensure the desired outcome is achieved.