Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture Repair

Extracapsular repair—Lateral Fabellar technique (Nylon Band Technique)

Cranial cruciate ligament rupture is the most common orthopedic condition of dogs and affects all breeds. The lateral imprication is ideal for small dogs and shows excellent results in small breeds but is not recommended for dogs > 65 pounds. If a dog is suffering from this condition it is important to know what went wrong.

The cranial cruciate ligament is one of the main stabilizers of the stifle joint in dogs (equivalent to the knee in humans). The ligament is there to prevent forward motion of the tibia bone (shin bone in humans), relative to the femur bone (thigh bone), to prevent further rotation of the tibia bone and limit hyperextention of the stifle. However, this cranial cruciate ligament may undergo tearing or can sometimes rupture during normal physical activity.

When the ligament tears, the “knee” becomes unstable resulting in pain due to the joint capsule being stretched, arthritis and potential damage to the meniscal cartilage. In surgery, it will first be determined where the tears are and if the medial meniscus is torn (occurs within 50% of dogs with a cruciate ligament tear) which makes the procedure more difficult. A heavy nylon material is tied from the lateral flabella to the tibial crest, to stabilize the joint.

When the scar tissues forms over the nylon, it will stabilize it even further. The success rate after surgery results in about 85% of dogs that show significant improvement. However, 50% of the dogs after surgery will still show some signs of lameness, either mild or only after heavy activity while the other 50% will regain completely normal functions of their limb.