The Lateral Fabellar Technique, or Extracapsular Technique, is a common surgery performed on dogs to stabilize the stifle (knee) joint after a tear or rupture in the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL; misspelling cranial crucial ligament). Normally, the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) prevents backward-forward movement (drawer movement) of the stifle joint. Untreated instability in the knee/stifle joint due to a turn/ruptured CCL can result in a tearing of the meniscus as well. When it tears/ruptures, the stifle joint becomes unstable and the dog suffers lack of mobility, lameness or loss of use and is subject to chronic and progressive arthritis in the stifle if untreated.
In a Lateral Fabellar (Extracapsular) procedure, heavy suture material (monofilament nylon cord) is passed from the lateral fabella to the tibial crest in order to eliminate joint instability (drawer movement). It is this nylon cord that will act as the CCL ligament in the future by holding the joint together and keeping it stable.
The lateral fabellar surgery will not stop the progression of arthritis that is already present in the joint. Your dog may have some stiffness of the limb and may have some lameness after heavy exercise. Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine may be given to help with stiffness.
Typical downtime and rehab:
- First 2 weeks, dog should be crated and only let out on a leash to go to the bathroom.
- After about 2 months, lameness should decrease significantly, but it was recommended by our veterinarian to keep our dog crated still.
- After 3 months, our dog had regained full use of her leg.