Extracapsular Technique (Lateral Suture Technique)

The most commonly used extracapsular technique used in dogs to stabilize the stifle (knee) is the lateral suture technique. There are many variations to the lateral suture technique. The most common technique involves placing a suture around the lateral fabella and then placing it through a hole which is drilled into the tibial crest. When the suture is tied, it stabilizes the stifle and over a period of a few months scar tissue develops on the lateral aspect of the stifle joint which also provides stabilization. The technique can also be used by placing a bone anchor in the distal femur. The suture is then secured to the bone anchor instead of passing the suture around the lateral fabella.

Benefits of the Lateral Suture Technique

The lateral suture technique has been shown to significantly improve lameness and has been reported to have a success rate of approximately 90%. In fact one study that used force plate analysis at 2 and 6 months post-surgery showed no difference compared to the TPLO or the TTA.

The progression of arthritis is decreased compared to not performing surgery. When the lateral suture technique was compared to the TPLO, arthritis progressed quicker in the patients that had the lateral suture technique.

Risks and Complications of the Extracapsular Technique

Risk factors are very common between the lateral suture technique, the TPLO, and the TTA. These may include any of the following:

These complications are not common and the incidence can be decreased dramatically by providing great post-operative care and by following at home care instructions while the tissue is healing.