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Patella Luxation


Patella Luxation

The term luxating means out of place or dislocated. Therefore, a luxating patella is a kneecap that ‘pops out’ or moves out of its normal location.

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What Causes Patella Luxation?

The kneecap, located beneath the patellar ligament, connects the thigh muscles to the shin bone. When the muscles contract, the ligament pulls on the shin bone, extending the knee.

Bowlegged dogs may have luxate patellas due to the attachment point of the patellar ligament being too far from the shinbone. This force pulls the patella to the knee, causing it to dislocate or slide towards the knee’s inside.


Patella Luxation Surgery Options:

Soft Tissue Surgeries

Soft tissue surgery for patella luxation in dogs involves addressing issues with the ligaments, tendons, and joint capsule that contribute to the dislocation of the patella.

The goal of these surgeries is to stabilise the patella within its groove, allowing for improved joint function and reducing pain.


Trochleoplasty is a surgical procedure that reshapes the groove in the femur where the patella sits. This helps create a deeper and more stable groove, reducing the risk of the patella luxating.

Trochleoplasty Procedure:

The surgeon reshapes the trochlea to create a deeper groove that better accommodates the patella.

The goal is to provide a more stable environmewnt for the kneecap, reducing the risk of dislocation. 

Tibial Tuberosity Transposition (TTT)

TTT involves repositioning the attachment point of the patellar ligament on the tibia. This helps to realign the forces acting on the patella, providing better stability.

Tibial Tuberosity Transposition Procedure:

The surgeon will cut the tibial tuberosity to realign to patellar ligament and the quadriceps mechanism.

The respositioning is aimed to correct the abnormal tracking of the patella and improving the stability. 


How is patella luxation diagnosed in dogs?

Diagnosis is typically based on a physical examination by a veterinarian. X-rays may be used to assess the severity of luxation and identify any underlying causes.

Can patella luxation be treated without surgery?

In mild cases, conservative management such as weight control, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications may be tried. However, severe cases often require surgical intervention.

How successful is surgery for patella luxation?

The success of surgery depends on factors such as the severity of luxation, the chosen procedure, and the individual dog's response. Many dogs experience significant improvement and lead normal lives after surgery.

What is the recovery process after patella luxation surgery?

Dogs typically require a period of strict rest and limited activity. Physical therapy may be recommended to aid in recovery and strengthen the muscles around the knee..

How can patella luxation be prevented?

Breeding programs aimed at reducing the prevalence of predisposed breeds and regular veterinary check-ups to detect early signs can contribute to prevention.