If you are experiencing pain in the ligament behind the knee, you may be a candidate for PCL knee surgery.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
The posterior cruciate ligament, or PCL, is the strongest ligament of the knee. While the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL is injured more often than the PCL and is more commonly discussed, a torn PCL accounts for more than 20% of reported knee injuries. The ACL sits in front of the PCL location in the knee. A torn PCL is commonly missed and left undiagnosed.
The posterior cruciate ligament’s most important function is to prevent posterior translation of the knee at higher knee flexion angles. Thus, patients commonly complaining of problems with deceleration, problems going down stairs and inclines or general twisting, turning or pivoting activities.
PCL injuries are classified according to the amount of injury to the functional ligament:
- Grade 1 PCL Sprain: partial PCL tear
- Grade 2 PCL Tear: near complete PCL tear
- Grade 3 PCL Tear: a complete PCL tear – the ligament is non-functional
When to Have PCL Surgery
In general, Dr. LaPrade will perform a PCL surgery on all injuries that present themselves as a grade 3. In a higher level athlete, it may be recommended to proceed with a PCL reconstruction sooner because the results of acute reconstructions are much better than chronic reconstructions.
When Dr. LaPrade does find that a patient needs PCL surgery, he thoroughly assesses the patient to see if there is a concurrent injury. In our hands, approximately 90% of patients who have a symptomatic PCL tear limiting their function also have a posterolateral corner, posteromedial injury or other associated injury. Thus, the incidence of isolated PCL reconstructions in our own series is approximately 10% of the total PCL reconstructions performed.