Surgical exploration of the joint is recommended in all patients undergoing a stabilization procedure for a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament. Exploration can be done via an open procedure (arthrotomy) or with a small camera called an arthoscope. It is important for the surgeon to diagnose and treat any additional problems such as a torn meniscus at the time of the stabilization procedure.
The Lateral Suture is a surgical method for repair of a Cranial Cruciate Rupture in dogs and is the oldest method in common use today. This method may be used in small dogs and cats. The Lateral Suture procedure uses nylon bands (suture) to stabilize the knee by placing the suture around the fabella (small accessory bone behind the femur) and through the tibia providing a soft tissue-to bone stabilizer of the joint during healing. The suture acts as a temporary stabilizer as the dog makes new functional scar tissue around the knee for long-term joint stability. Recovery time following this procedure is 3-5 months. The Lateral Suture technique for cruciate repair is not consistently effective in larger dogs. A common complication is over-tightening of the prosthetic ligament with applies excessive compression of the joint. This can lead to cartilage damage, increased risk of meniscal injury, limited range of motion of the joint, and discomfort.