Winston’s MPL – stabilizing the knee cap

Winston came to us for a second opinion surgical evaluation. He had been limping on his right hind leg for about a month and had been diagnosed with bilateral medial patellar luxations (dislocating kneecaps) and a possible cranial cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture by his family veterinarian. After a complete orthopedic exam, we agreed with Winston’s previous evaluations – his right kneecap dislocated as he walked, his left kneecap could be dislocated but wasn’t currently causing a problem, and he had some signs compatible with a possible cranial cruciate ligament injury but his knee was not unstable enough to suspect a full tear.

Based on those findings and Winston’s lameness, we recommended surgery to evaluate his right knee, to surgically stabilize his patella, and to surgically stabilize his right knee if his cranial cruciate ligament was torn. We discussed all the options with Winston’s family and they decided to proceed with surgery at Sunstone Vets. At surgery, we found some good news – Winston’s ACL was intact and looked very healthy! However, Winston still needed surgery to stabilize his kneecap.

Looking inside Winston’s knee, it was easy to see why he had been so sore. With his kneecap constantly slipping out of place, Winston had worn a pea-sized divot in the cartilage surface of his kneecap. To stabilize the kneecap we used a combination of 4 procedures: (1) we deepened the groove where the kneecap was supposed to be living to make it more difficult to slip out of joint, (2) we moved the insertion point of the patellar tendon to re-align the patella, (3) we released tissues along the inside of the knee to allow the kneecap to sit more centered at the knee, and (4) we tightened the tissues along the outside of the knee to help hold the patella in the correct position.

While this combination of procedures will stabilize most patella luxations, occasionally dogs have significant angulation to their hindlimbs and may require additional corrective procedures to fix their limb alignment.

At his most recent check-up with his family vet, Winston’s incision was all healed up and he was walking well for this stage after surgery. We will continue to follow his progress and support Winston on the road to recovery! Our goal at Sunstone Vets is to provide exceptional care, service, and communication. We work with your family vet to provide specialty care with your pet’s well-being as our first priority. Dr. Su is available for referral consultations for all types of surgery Monday – Thursday 8am-6pm.