PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) injuries of the knee are common occurrences in athletes and can result during traumatic accidents. They account for as many as 20% of knee ligament injuries. However, PCL injuries are often misdiagnosed.
If the PCL is partially torn, surgery may not be needed. However, if the ligament is completely torn and becomes nonfunctioning or symptomatic, reconstructive surgery will most likely be needed. The majority of patients who present a PCL tear will have another injury within the posterolateral corner of the knee. Thus, it is rare to perform an isolated PCL reconstruction.
Your physician will reconstruct the posterior cruciate ligament using a graft. Typically, this process can be completed arthroscopically, which involves the use of a small camera and surgical tools, allowing your physician to access the inside of the knee joint. During this reconstruction technique, the graft is securely fixed to the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (leg bone) at the original attachment site.
Following PCL reconstruction, your physician will carefully supervise formal physical therapy to increase knee motion, and to increase bearing weight to the treated knee. A brace will be required at first, in order to protect the graft. The goal is return to full activity in 6 to 9 months.