Luxated Patella of Dog – Surgery Cost

luxated patella

The treatment for a luxated patella can vary depending on the grade of your dog’s luxation. In a mild case, your vet might use medication, supplements, or physical therapy instead of surgery. However, if the situation is more severe, surgery can be vital.

The cost of patella luxation surgery can range between $1000 and $5000 per knee. However, additional surgery costs will include medication, physiotherapy, and check-ups. The price also depends on location, grade of luxation, dog size, veterinarian, and type of surgery.

Although surgery is the most effective way to treat a luxated patella permanently, some people can find the cost prohibitive. Here we will guide you on the importance, types, and factors that affect the price of luxated patella surgery.

What Is Luxated Patella in Dogs

A luxating patella is a condition where the dog’s kneecap moves or dislocates from its normal position. The most common cause of patella luxation is damage to or looseness of the structures around the knee, which can be caused by trauma or genes. The movement of the kneecap usually occurs medially or toward the inner body. The luxated patella condition is common in small-breed dogs, especially those with bow limbs. 

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There are three types of patellar luxation, which include the following:

  1. Congenital – A dog suffering from congenital Patellar luxation symptoms are visible at a younger age since it is genetic.
  2.  Developmental – Developmental patellar luxation advances over time due to hereditary weakness in the knee bone alignment.
  3. Traumatic – Traumatic patellar results from an injury that harms knee bones.

Related: A Vet Explains Preventive Care & Medical Costs for a Dog

Importance of Surgery in Treating Luxated Patella in Dogs

Once your dog is diagnosed with patellar luxation, it is vital to start treatment immediately. However, your veterinarian can try other methods like leg bandaging, cage rest, rehabilitation, and medication. If the condition is severe, surgery is the best treatment option.

Dogs with grade II-IV patella luxation need surgery to fix the problem and keep it from getting worse. Dogs with permanent lameness and severe pain from cartilage damage need surgery to restore standard functionality.

Research shows that surgical correction of patella luxation can improve lameness by up to 92%  through postoperative stance analysis, where most animals typically recover well and return to full function.

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Overview of the Cost of Luxated Patella Surgery for Dogs

A luxated patella surgery can range between $1,000 to $5,000. In addition, there are other postoperative care costs like medication, vet check-ups, hydrotherapy, and radiotherapy—rehabilitation which includes a dog’s physical therapy, costs from $40 to $100 per session. Also, monthly pain relief medications cost about $20 to $50.

Patella luxation surgery requirementsThe price range is $
General surgery$1,000 to $5,000
Medial unilateral patellar luxation (MPL) surgeryAbout $2,000
Medial bilateral patellar luxation (MPL) surgeryAbout $3,000
Lateral patellar luxation (LPL) surgery$1,000 to $3,000
Tibial tuberosity transposition (TTT) surgery$3,000 to $4,500
Postoperative costsUp to $1,000
Rehabilitation after surgery$40 to $100 daily
Postoperative medications$20 to $50

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Factors Affecting Luxated Patella Surgery Cost for Dogs

Here are some factors that affect luxated patella surgery in dogs:

The Severity of the Condition

In more severe luxated patella conditions, surgical treatment can be more expensive. Extreme inflammation can cause a ligament to break, meaning more tests, like an X-ray, need to be done. A dog with grade II patellar luxation is easier to handle than one with grade IV patellar luxation.

Type of Surgery

The position of the luxated patella might require more complicated surgery. Depending on the type of surgery, e.g., a dog with unilateral MPL spends about $2,000, while a dog with bilateral MPL spends about $3,000. Other types, like TTT and LPL surgery, can be more expensive than the MPL one.

Size and Weight of the Dog

A bigger dog will take more time to operate on. Thus, the cost can be slightly higher than with traditional surgery. Overweight dogs need more vet instructions to help them lose weight. Excess body weight tends to put more stress on the lame joints, increasing the pain. Getting the dog to an ideal body condition might cost more since some need supplements.

Location of the Veterinary Clinic

If you don’t have a clinic nearby, you’ll have to go somewhere else and leave the dog there for a while so it can get better. These can increase the cost since rehabilitation costs an additional $40 to $100 per day.

Geographical Location

A clinic in the city will likely charge more than those in rural areas. Research by the National Library of Medicine shows that different geographical locations can set their coding practice costs at a particular range. Also, Medicare physician reimbursement rates can vary as well.

Preoperative Testing and Postoperative Care

Some clinics do not include the cost of preoperative testing and postoperative care in the initial surgery cost. In contrast, other preoperative costs are higher than the actual surgery itself. Your dog can require a pre-anesthetic blood test, X-rays, and hospitalization, which will increase your bill.

Also, postoperative care, like medication costs and physical therapy, can add an additional $1000 per month to your bill. If your dog takes more time to heal, the price might be higher. Also, the cost of prolonged pain relief medication can be expensive.

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Types of Luxated Patella Surgery for Dogs

Dogs suffering from intermittent lameness due to patellar luxation require surgical treatment techniques. The most common types of luxated patella surgery include:

Medial Patellar Luxation (MPL) Surgery

Medial patellar luxation (MPL) is common in dogs with a shallow trochlea groove. The best way to treat this luxation is by performing a trochlear wedge recession. The procedure increases the depth of the trochlear groove to support the cartilage that holds the patella.

The surgeon removes the trochlear wedge of the cartilage surface in a clear way to remove the cartilage bone. After the bone is taken out, the trochlea is put back in deeper so that it fits between the trochlear ridges and makes a better groove for the patella.

Lateral Patellar Luxation (LPL) Surgery

Lateral patella luxation (LPL) happens when the knee cap fails to glide inside its natural groove in the femur (knee joint). The displacement can be partial or permanent toward the outer joint. Surgeons use various surgical techniques to treat LPL and restore the patella permanently in its appropriate plane in the femoral groove.

The surgery is done by artificially deepening the existing surface. Also, the vet can cut a v-shaped wedge towards the bone. Then, the joint capsule is loosened around the knee, and the patella is pulled toward the wedge. Finally, they attach the patella to the lateral tibia by cutting the tendon at the bony intersection and mending it with a wire or pins into a straight location on the tibia.

Tibial Tuberosity Transposition (TTT) Surgery

Tibial tuberosity transportation (TTT) surgery is a procedure to realign a dog’s patella tracking. The vet takes a small piece of bone (the tibial tuberosity) from the front of the shin bone and screws or anchors it in a different place.

The tibial tuberosity is cut and aligned laterally to change the quadriceps muscle action. The angular change results from the flexor muscles’ adjustment force from the medial luxation.

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Cost of Luxated Patella Surgery for Dogs

Although the average cost for luxated patella surgery can range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the clinic, surgery fees can include pre-surgical X-rays, anesthesia, monitoring, implants, epidural implants, medications, and post-operative X-rays.

Different types of surgeries can vary as below:

The Average Cost of Each Type of Luxated Patella Surgery

  1. Medial patellar luxation (MPL) surgery – The average cost for unilateral MPL is $2,000, while for bilateral MPL is about $3,000. This cost can include the pre-surgical X-rays, anesthesia, monitoring, and medications and excludes consultation and postoperative X-rays.
  2. Lateral patellar luxation (LPL) surgery – the average cost for LPL surgery can range from $1,000 to $3,000. In addition, the dog can require blood work, X-rays, medication, x-rays, and anesthesia.
  3. Tibial tuberosity transposition (TTT) surgery – TTT surgery costs between $3,000 and $4,500. The price varies depending on factors like the locality and availability of surgeons, the dog’s age, and the severity of the condition.

Related: Dog Slipped Disc Surgery Cost – Full Guide

Ways To Lower Luxated Patella Surgery Costs for Dogs

If you cannot afford surgery for your dog’s luxated patella, you can opt for rehabilitation, which costs between $40 and $100 per session. However, if your dog’s condition is severe, you can find ways to lower the surgery cost. Here are some options to help you reduce the cost of surgery.

Finding Low-Cost Clinics

Look for local animal welfare organizations, shelters, and rescue groups since they usually offer low-cost surgeries, medications, neutering, and free routine care.

Veterinary schools are also cheaper than clinics since students perform the procedures as part of their learning process while supervised by a professional vet.

Exploring Financing Options

Ask for help from non-profit organizations that help pet owners pay for serious care that isn’t an emergency. Also, research crowdfunding sources. Sites like GoFundMe, PlumFund, GiveForward, and more offer help to raise money.

The site allows you to create a page to list your dog’s surgery cost and other veterinary needs. Then you can request that people donate funds and share your post on their social networks.

Pet Insurance and Care Credit

Consider using pet insurance since it covers most injuries and illnesses. Having pet insurance allows reimbursement for some medical expenses. Check out good pet insurance plans and choose the suitable options for you.

CareCredit cards are specifically for health and veterinary care costs. The card allows you to make low monthly, quarterly, half-annual, or annual payments at no interest. Once your pet requires treatment, the money is charged directly to your credit card.

Discussing Options With the Veterinarian

You can request your veterinarian for their payment plans. Affordable payment plans will help you split the treatment cost over a more extended period to avoid paying a hefty amount.

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Pros and Cons of Luxating Patella Surgery


  • Over 90% of luxating patella surgeries are usually successful; hence the dog has promising progress
  • Helps a dog to regain its everyday active life
  • Grade II-IV causes a dog to experience pain from cartilage damage and severe lameness; thus, surgery helps to better their quality of life
  • Surgery improves the kneecap stability through the knee joint’s soft tissue reinforcement and deepening of the femur groove.


Research from the Wiley online library shows that between 18% and 29% of dogs who have surgery for patellar luxation will have problems. Such complications include patellar luxation and tibial tuberosity transposition problems such as the following:

  • Loose or broken implants
  • Tuberosity fracture or displacement
  • Proximal tibia fracture

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Luxated patella dog surgery cost: FAQs

Q: Should You Walk a Dog With Luxating Patella?

A: Dogs with patellar luxation require mild exercise to strengthen their muscles, maintain their weight, and prevent arthritis. Gentle walks are crucial, but you should avoid strenuous activities.

Q: Can a Dog Live With Luxating Patella?

A: Small dog breeds can live with a grade I or II luxating patella without lameness and pain. However, if the condition is grade III or IV, the dog can suffer severe pain and discomfort.

Q: How Much Is Luxating Patella Surgery in 2023?

A: General veterinarians can charge from $1,500 to $3,000 per knee. While others, like board-certified veterinary surgeons, can charge up to $5000 due to their advanced training and experience. The surgery’s general cost range is between $1,000 and $5,000.

Q: Should I Get My Dog Luxating Patella Surgery?

A: If your dog has a grade III or IV luxating patella, you should consider surgery to avoid persistent lameness. Dogs with grade I patellar luxations don’t need surgery. Instead, you can try physiotherapy and exercise to strengthen the leg muscles.

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Although factors like preoperative test cost, geographical location, postoperative care, and many more can affect the price of luxating patella surgery, your dog need to undergo treatment. Dogs with grade III and IV luxated patellas require surgery to improve kneecap stability and avoid severe pain and lameness.

Even though surgery is expensive, you should look at all the other alternatives to treating your pet. You can request that your veterinarian give you an affordable payment plan. You can also see if your dog is eligible for help from a nonprofit group or look into crowdfunding.


Johann Chapuis

Johann Chapuis has assembled a fantastic team of licensed veterinarians, animal behaviorists, dog trainers, groomers, and walkers to write every article and offer the most accurate content on Being a pet lover and owner himself, Johann is sharing his experiences and his financial aptitude cultivated during his MBA with a specialization in finance and the numerous years he spent working as a business manager and entrepreneur.

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