Depending on the severity of the tear and patient-specific medical factors, like the pet’s weight and general health status, extracapsular repair may be the most effective method of repairing a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). Although this procedure can be performed on any dog, it is most often recommended for smaller breeds and senior pets.
The extracapsular repair procedure uses a robust suture material to replace the cranial cruciate ligament. As the pet heals for a few months after surgery, scar tissue develops along the suture, reinforcing the repair and stabilizing the knee. While it is not the sturdiest repair method available, the surgery is highly effective for smaller pets and pets that are less active. It also has the fewest possible complications compared to other CCL procedures.
Recovering from Extracapsular Repair
Extracapsular repair is a major procedure that requires a recovery period of up to 12 weeks. Painkillers, anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics will be prescribed to your pet for the critical period following the operation to manage discomfort and prevent infection of the surgical site. It is important to keep pets from licking the incision so it does not get infected.
If your pet receives an extracapsular repair procedure, you will need to restrict their exercise to allow them to heal. Pets should be confined to a small area in the home to restrict unnecessary movement and prevent strenuous activity. Regular veterinary checkups and X-rays with your Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center veterinarian will monitor your pet’s recovery, assessing limb and joint function as well as general mobility. As your dog heals, exercise may be gradually increased based on individual evaluation.
We generally recommend physical therapy four weeks after surgery. Rehabilitation may include strength training, range of motion techniques and aquatic therapy to help strengthen the joint and restore mobility.