Tightrope Orthopedic Surgery and Other Specific Orthopedic Surgeries

Arthrex TightRope Procedure – Knee Surgery in Dogs

Less traumatic, More effective, Less costly

Just as in the human knee, the most critical stabilizing structure in the canine knee is the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL or ACL). The primary function of the CCL is to prevent forward thrusting motion and inward rotation of the tibia during weight bearing and to prevent hyper-extension of the knee.

When the CCL is ruptured or partially torn, the abnormal, forward thrusting motion and inward rotation of the tibia during weight bearing results in an unstable, painful knee and ultimately, in debilitating, degenerative arthritic changes in the knee joint. Accurate diagnosis and prompt surgical intervention of this serious injury is the current standard of care.

The newest procedure for repairing a ruptured CCL by ligament replacement is the TightRope Ligament technique. This procedure has been developed by James L. Cook, DVM, PhD, Diplomat of the College of Veterinary Surgeons. This procedure has been proven in over 200 knees and has been shown to be highly effective.

The TightRope CCL technique is minimally invasive, and more cost effective in comparison to the TPLO or TTA. The data suggest that TightRope can be successfully performed in medium, large and giant breed dogs resulting in outcomes which are comparable to or better than TPLO or TTA. A MiniTightRope is also available for toy and small breeds.

The TightRope CCL counteracts the forward tibial thrust and inward rotation resulting from CCL damage, while providing optimal joint range of motion.

This procedure mimics the natural cruciate ligament functions, perhaps better than any other procedure developed to date.

The TightRope Ligament is produced by Arthrex Vet Systems. It is an ultra-high strength, flat, smooth, braided, ribbon-like ligament composed of a multi-stranded long chain ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) core with a braided jacket of polyester giving it unsurpassed strength, virtually eliminating ligament breakage. The ligament provides an ultimate load of 225 lbs, approximately three times the strength of 80# nylon ligaments currently in use for CCL replacement and equivalent to the strength of the normal ligament. This procedure provides your patient an excellent option when a less invasive, less radical and more cost effective procedure is desired by the pet owner.

This illustration shows the canine knee from a front view with the knee cap removed in order to illustrate the femoral tunnel with more clarity. A tunnel is drilled in the femur beginning at a very precise anatomical point on the inside of the bone, at an upward angle, exiting on the inside surface of the shaft of the femur.

A second tunnel is drilled in the tibia beginning at a very precise anatomical point on the inside of the tibial crest in a downward direction, exiting on the inside surface of the shaft of the tibia.

The TightRope Ligament is passed from inside to outside through the femoral tunnel, then from outside to inside through the tibial tunnel. The stainless steel tibial toggle button is then turned 90 degrees to the ligament, placed against the surface of the tibia, and the TightRope Ligament is pulled taut through the tibial tunnel. The TightRope Ligament is then pulled taut through the femoral tunnel eliminating all “slack” in the ligament. The stainless steel femoral button is then slid down the ligament until it is snug against the surface of the femur, the ligament pulled tight and anchored in this position by tying it down against the femoral button. The ligament is now in place, very secure and mimics very closely the function of the natural cranial cruciate ligament.

This illustration shows the canine knee from the outside surface with the TightRope Ligament in place. Note that the TightRope Ligament is placed under the long digital extensor tendon, allowing it to function normally and to prevent any damage to the tendon.

TightRope is a registered product of Arthrex Vet Systems

While the doctors at Bingle Vet are experienced with the Tightrope Orthopedic Surgery and other specific orthopedic surgeries, they are not Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeons  and handle surgeries on a case-by-case basis.  If you are searching for a true orthopedic surgeon, our doctors are happy to provide a recommendation during a consultation visit, or provide a second opinion on any conditions your pet may be experiencing.
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