What is a PCL tear?
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), is one of four ligaments important to the stability of the knee joint. The PCL prevents the tibia (shinbone) from sliding too far backward, and helps maintain the tibia in position below the femur (thigh bone). PCL tears most commonly result from "dashboard injuries” when the shin forcefully strikes the dashboard or following sports injuries when an athlete falls on the front of their knee.
How do I know if I need surgery for a PCL tear?
Initial treatment of PCL tears consists of non-surgical modalities. However, there are certain cases in which surgical reconstruction of the PCL is necessary. If your injury is acute, Dr. Potts may recommend surgery if you have injured several major knee ligaments, or if you cannot do perform your usual activities because of persistent knee instability. High demand individuals, such as young athletes, may be treated with surgery as soon as possible, to improve their chances of return to full functional capacity.
What happens during a PCL reconstruction?
The main objective of a PCL reconstruction is to restore normal knee mechanics and dynamic knee stability, thus correcting posterior tibial laxity. Because sewing the ends of the ligament back together does not usually heal, a PCL must be rebuilt. PCL reconstruction is performed with a minimally invasive procedure using an arthroscope through small incisions. Your torn ligament will be replaced with a tissue graft taken from another part of your body (autograft), or from another human donor (allograft). It can take several months for the graft to heal into your bone.