The newest surgical method being used to repair torn cranial cruciate ligaments in dogs is the tightrope method. The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is equivalent to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, in humans. The surgery is helpful as CCL injuries are the most common cause for lameness in dogs.
Defining the Tightrope Method
Vets who perform the procedure at one animal clinic in Lenexa, KS define a tightrope CCL as an extracapsular method that employs lateral suture stabilization in combination with a material known as fiber tape for knee joint stability. The tape is placed in the knee of the dog through small incisions which are performed arthroscopically. The incisions, in turn, create tunnels in the bone.
However, animal clinic vets at such hospitals as the Cherokee Animal Clinic add that not every dog is an ideal candidate for the procedure. The vet takes into consideration such criteria as a dog’s age, weight, health, and the onset of the condition.
Therefore, dogs weighing less than 30 pounds are typically not considered the best candidates. Neither are dogs who may have a difficult time following the rehab protocol after the surgery. The surgery is also not recommended for dogs with any kind of limb deformity or for canines with a steep tibial plateau, generally defined as an angle of 30 degrees or more.
A Minimally Invasive Solution
For other dogs, the tightrope CCL procedure was developed to supply a minimally invasive solution for added capsular stabilization of the CCL. In addition, the surgery does not necessitate the cutting of bone like other procedures. According to animal clinic vets, the process involves drilling small incisions into the femur and tibia in order to insert a biomaterial. This material ensures bone-to-bone stabilization during the healing process.
The biomaterial or tape is used in many human orthopedic surgeries. As a result, the tightrope method and accompanying fiber tape implant offer a number of advantages if a dog is found to be a viable candidate. These advantages include reduced cost, a reduced risk of catastrophic failure, a reduced risk of infection, and a faster recovery rate.