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Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Repair / Reconstruction


What is an MCL tear?

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is found on the medial (inside) part of the knee, and connects the femur to the tibia. It is responsible for providing stability when the joint moves from side-to-side, and can become injured from a direct blow to the outside of the knee, an accidental fall or landing awkwardly during athletic activities.


How do I know if I need MCL surgery? 

Treatment of an MCL injury depends on the severity of injury, symptoms, and instability. Most grade 1-2 MCL injuries respond well to non-surgical treatment with a combination of bracing, ice, rest and physical therapy. In unstable grade 3 MCL tears, or those that don’t respond to initial non-surgical treatment, Dr. Potts may recommend surgery to fix the ligament and restore the knee’s normal function.


What happens during MCL surgery?

Surgery for MCL tears consists of either a repair or reconstruction of the torn MCL. The procedure is typically performed through a small incision on the inside of your knee. It is not done arthroscopically, since this ligament is not actually within the knee joint.

During a primary repair, the torn ligament will be sutured together in order to promote healing. If reconstruction is necessary, the MCL will be rebuilt using a strong tendon graft from the patient’s own tendons (autograft) or from a donor (allograft).