PCL reconstruction, aka posterior cruciate ligament, is a surgery in which the surgeon separates your torn ligament and reconstructs it with the help of tissue extracted from another part of your body. To heal that graft requires several months.
There are four main ligaments in the knee, and PCL is among them. It meets the center of the knee in the back that joins the thigh bone to the shin bone. The PCL is a powerful ligament, and it is infrequent to have injuries there.
Although, after the posterior cruciate ligament injury, the doctor first refers to opt nonsurgical treatments, and only when they fail do they eventually go for surgery.
Having healthy knees is vital to carrying out day-to-day chores. Our knee is the largest joint in the body and comprises three parts: the femur, tibia, and patella. The femur is the lower end of the thighbone. The tibia is the upper end of the shinbone, and the patella is the kneecap. A smooth substance known as articulate cartilage protects the ends of these bones and allows the leg to move comfortably.
Between the femur and tibia, c-shaped wedges, aka menisci, act as “shock absorbers” that shield the joints. Not only this, there are large ligaments that hold the femur and tibia together and provide strength and stability to the knees.
A synovial membrane covers all the left sections of the knee. This membrane is a thin lining and releases a fluid that polishes the cartilage, lessening the friction in a healthy knee.
Typically, these components work in accordance. However, if it gets infected by some disease or injury, the outcome will be painful, and the muscle will get weak and diminish its functioning.
Damaging the posterior cruciate ligament demands extreme impact. Typically, when you experience a straight flow to the right at the front of the knee or to the leg beneath the knee. Car accidents, twisting the ligaments, and accidents while playing sports are some common incidents that lead to severe tears in PCL.
You feel instant pain, fragility, and swelling when you walk or stand. The pain feels at the back of the knee, and it gets worse when you kneel. In a week or two, you will experience an ache in front of your knee after the injury and experience it when you try to speed up or slow down.
The doctor will first perform a detailed PCL Posterior Cruciate Ligament test to understand the structure of your knee, and if required, he can also do x-rays or MRIs. Usually, doctors suggest surgery when it is the only solution. But sometimes, it can be done when the injury also affects the other ligaments of the knee.
Usually, doctors prefer to perform PCL reconstruction, just like arthroscopic surgery, where they create tiny cuts and implant a miniature camera that shows the image on a big screen. And with the help of that surgeon, start with the surgery. Here, they separate the damaged PCL and prepare the thigh and lower leg bones for the graft. As it is a minimally invasive surgery, you can be allowed to go back home on the same day after the surgery.
In the first few weeks, the patient has to take support of crutches. Please make sure you go to physical therapy as prescribed by the doctor. Take it slow, and remember that a full recovery of your PCL demands six months or even a year.
Dr. Darsh Goyal is a renowned Orthopedic Surgeon who has experience of nearly two decades in knee and shoulder surgery. He has worked in some of the finest hospitals across the globe. He has successfully treated more than nine thousand patients. Dr. Darsh has received training from some of the most respected institutes worldwide - NHS England, Hss New York, USA, and Munich, Germany. He has written many books and international papers. Dr. Goyal’s Bones & Joint Centre is among the best centers for advanced Arthroscopy/Laser Surgery for knee and shoulder and Fast track Total knee Replacement.
Q1) How long does a PCL reconstruction last?
Generally, the posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is carried out under the standard anesthetic. It is typically conducted through arthroscopic and demands at least one hour. The surgeon will create two or three tiny cuts and implant a mini camera to study the inside of the knee.
Q2) Can your knee be stronger after PCL surgery?
Compared to ACL surgery, PCL surgery is two or three times stronger. The graft is solid in PCL reconstruction and associated with better extension.
Q3) Does PCL need surgery?
Usually, after the PCL injury, the doctor first refers to opt nonsurgical treatments, and only when they fail to recover do they eventually go for the surgery.
Q4) Can I walk after PCL surgery?
Yes, you can walk after the PCL surgery but prefer to use crutches for at least two weeks.