Extracapsular Lateral Suture Stabilization Surgery

Mold of a Dog's Meniscus and Cruciate Ligament As a pet owner, it is important for you to pay attention to your pet and take care of any illnesses or injuries they experience. One of the most common injuries your pet may have is an ACL or CCL tear. This type of injury is becoming more and more common for many dog breeds. There are several reasons for this, including a lack of consistent exercise, carrying extra weight, joint overloading and pet owners failing to recognize the early warning signs.

There are several solutions for cruciate ligament injuries that can help your pet live a healthy, long life. Dr. Evan Ware, the primary pet orthopedic surgeon at the Laveen Veterinary Center, will conduct a thorough injury assessment using state-of-the-art radiograph machinery to determine the scope of your pet’s injury. Based on the results, he may recommend your pet undergo extracapsular lateral suture stabilization (ELSS) surgery.

Thankfully, ELSS surgery is generally a quick and uncomplicated procedure. Many dog breeds have a high success rate after undergoing this veterinary orthopedic procedure. ELSS surgery is also typically less expensive than other orthopedic surgeries for ACL/CCL injuries. Contact our Laveen Veterinary Center staff today to schedule an initial appointment with our surgical team. We will answer your questions and fill you in on what you can expect during your visit to our veterinary facility.

What Is a Cranial Cruciate Ligament?

In a human’s knee, there is a thin layer of connective tissue that keeps the tibia and femur in alignment. It is called the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The pet equivalent of the ACL is the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). The CCL is designed to keep your dog’s tibia from sliding forward or backward in relation to the femur.

Important Note: Many veterinarians use the terms ACL and CCL interchangeably. You may hear your veterinarian refer to your dog’s cranial cruciate ligament as an ACL, CCL or “cruciate.” There is no need to worry or become concerned!

What Are the Symptoms of a CCL Tear?

It is important to monitor your pet’s health and engage in preventative care when you notice something is wrong. If your pet is beginning to show signs of a CCL tear, then a veterinarian can help you prevent the injury from growing progressively worse. Here are the primary symptoms of a CCL tear in dogs.

  • Signs of pain when walking, rising or jumping from the floor
  • Stiffness in limbs
  • Limping in hind legs
  • Increased fluid and thickening of the joint

In many cases, a veterinary orthopedic surgeon will recommend surgical treatment to keep your pet’s symptoms from becoming worse. It is crucial that you schedule an appointment with Dr. Evan Ware as soon as possible. He will officially diagnose your pet’s injury and offer his opinion on the available treatment options.

What to Expect During Extracapsular Lateral Suture Stabilization Surgery?

One option for treating CCL injuries in dogs is extracapsular lateral suture stabilization (ELSS) surgery. The goal of ELSS surgery is to prevent tibia thrust by placing a strong monofilament suture from the lateral fabella to the tibial crest. Tibia thrust occurs when a dog’s shinbone slides forward because the injured CCL is no longer able to oppose the forward motion. ELSS surgery will anchor the tibia to the femur with a suture, stabilizing the knee joint and preventing the front-to-back sliding of the tibia. This will give your pet’s CCL the opportunity to heal and make sure the muscles surrounding the knee can return to full strength.

What Does the Recovery Process for ELSS Surgery Entail?

The recovery process for ELSS surgery will depend on many factors, including the breed of your dog and the severity of the CCL injury. Many dogs begin walking as soon as 24 hours after surgery. However, other dogs avoid using their post-surgical leg for the first couple of days. In either case, the majority of dogs will take up to four months to fully recover and return to their normal activities.

When you are home, it is important to monitor the movement of your pet for the first couple of weeks. Too much movement could overload the repair and delay the healing process. You should return to our Laveen veterinary office after 6 weeks for a clinical examination of your pet. Dr. Evan Ware will assess your dog’s progress and discuss any potential plans. In most cases, he will give you the go-ahead to begin increasing your canine’s activity levels.

How Much Does ELSS Surgery Cost?

The cost of ELSS surgery will vary depending on your location, orthopedic surgeon, breed of dog and severity of the CCL tear or injury. However, ELSS surgery is usually more affordable than surgeries that require manipulation of the bone, including TPLO surgery.

At the Laveen Veterinary Center, we work with pet owners and their families to make sure that pet care is both affordable and manageable. If your pet has had an unexpected medical emergency, then you may have the option of splitting your payment into six monthly installments. To do this, you must complete an online application through the CareCredit program.

Do you have additional questions about the cost of ELSS surgery or any of our other veterinary orthopedic procedures? If so, then do not hesitate to contact our Laveen veterinary office. Our staff will happily speak with you and help you better understand how we determine the price of the surgery. We will also provide you with a list of veterinary resources and help you schedule an initial appointment.

Is Your Dog Displaying Symptoms of a Leg Injury?

If you answered yes to this question, then you should quickly schedule an appointment with pet orthopedic surgeon Dr. Evan Ware. He can determine whether your pet needs an extracapsular lateral suture for a cranial cruciate ligament injury. He also has years of experience performing other pet orthopedic surgeries, including:

Contact the Laveen Veterinary Center today at (602) 559-9600 to book your appointment with Dr. Evan Ware. Serving Laveen and the South Phoenix area, our team is passionate about helping dogs, cats and other pets maintain a healthy, active lifestyle for as long as possible. Call today to learn more about our long list of veterinary services.