What is a posterolateral corner injury?
The posterolateral corner (PLC) consists of four main structures that provide stability to the back (posterior) and outer (lateral) aspects of the knee. These consist of the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), popliteus tendon, popliteofibular ligament, and posterolateral capsule. PLC injuries commonly occur with athletic traumas, motor vehicle accidents, and falls. They are also associated with concurrent injuries of the ACL or PCL.
Do if I need surgery to fix my PLC injury?
Treatment depends mostly on the severity of the injury, amount of instability, and presence of associated injuries. Most patients with a mild posterolateral corner injury start to recover within a few weeks, however, patients with severe (grade 3) PLC injuries typically require surgical management due to the low likelihood of healing over time.
The ideal time frame for PLC surgery is within the first couple of weeks following the injury, and it has been shown that prompt surgical intervention results in better outcomes. Acute surgical treatment can also help the patient avoid an additional procedure for limb alignment correction that may be necessary in chronic cases.
What happens during PLC surgery?
Severe posterolateral corner injuries often require surgery to repair the soft tissue damage, including any tendons and ligaments involved in the injury. Patients treated acutely may undergo repair or reconstruction procedures to restore the functional stability of the knee. If reconstruction is necessary, Dr. Potts may use a graft taken from the patient’s own body (autograft) or from a donor (allograft). The graft is secured to the outer surface of the femur (thighbone) and through the head of the fibula (smaller bone in the lower leg) with surgical screws and sutures.