The patella, or kneecap, is a small bone that sits within a large tendon at the front of the knee. The patella should sit within a groove at the end of the femur (thigh bone). In some animals, the patella luxates or moves out of this groove. In some patients, this causes no problem but in others, it can be a painful condition, as well as leading to the development of arthritis. It can also be involved with rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament.
For patients considered a candidate for surgery, the surgery usually involves several parts. Firstly the groove in the femur is deepened, and then we perform a tibial tuberosity transposition (TTT). A TTT involves moving the boney attachment of the patella tendon on the tibia (shin bone) and use pins to reattach the bone in a position that better aligns the patella with the groove.
For some dogs patellar luxation is a trigger for arthritis within the joint, so it is important all patients get lifelong joint support such as joint supplements and weight control to minimise the impact of arthritis in these joints.
Broken bones are usually due to an accident such as being hit by a car, accidentally stepped on, or being attacked by another dog. Due to the severity of the trauma dogs and cats can suffer other internal injuries at the same time as their broken bones, and it is important these are managed in conjunction with any attempt to repair a broken bone.
Once any internal injuries have been managed fractured or broken bones can be repaired using multiple different methods. The method used to fix a particular fracture is usually dependant on the type of fracture and the bone involved, and this would be discussed with the owner prior to surgery. Usually, a period of exercise restriction is required after surgery, and it is important this is performed correctly to increase the chance of a successful outcome. Although the aftercare can be lengthy, most fractures can be repaired and most animals can eventually return to a relatively normal degree of function.