Unfortunately, complications can occur with any surgical procedure. The complication rate for CBLO surgery is low, but potential complications include:
Any surgery carries a small risk of infection. Orthopaedic surgery carries a slightly higher risk because bacteria can stick to the metal implants, which makes it difficult for the immune system to reach them. To reduce this risk, all dogs receive antibiotics during surgery. If your dog licks their wound after surgery, they can introduce infection, which is why most dogs will need to wear a buster collar until the surgical wound has healed.
In a small number of dogs, the screws that hold the bone in its new position can become loose over time. If this happens, excessive movement of the bone segments against one another can delay healing and, in the worst-case scenario, the plate can break and require replacement. The risk of this happening increases substantially if exercise is not sufficiently restricted following surgery.
Delayed healing of the bone
The bone needs to heal in order to become strong enough to support your dog’s normal activity. All dogs heal at slightly different rates and often patience is required. Insufficient exercise restriction after surgery, as well as some underlying health conditions, can predispose a dog to slow healing.
Subsequent meniscal injury
In some cases, the menisci appear normal at the time of surgery but are later damaged due to continued, mild degrees of joint instability. If this is the case, lameness may persist longer than expected post-surgery, or dogs may seemingly recover before suddenly becoming lame on the leg once more. If this occurs, repeat surgery will be required to inspect the meniscus for damage and cut away any torn portions. In one study, 8.6% of dogs had a late meniscal injury after CBLO.