PCL reconstruction is a surgical repair of a damaged posterior cruciate ligament.
What is it?
PCL reconstruction surgery is used to repair or restore the posterior collateral ligament, which connects the femur and tibia and prevents excessive backward motion of the tibia. PCL injuries are relatively rare and may be difficult to identify. The surgery and overall healing process often requires grafts, either from the patient or a donor, to reconstruct the ligament attachment. In addition to the surgery, several months of wearing a brace is necessary for an optimal recovery.
What should I do to prepare?
Before receiving surgery, the patient should consult with a physician or surgeon to determine if this surgery is the proper course of action. X-rays and other diagnostic imaging techniques are used to develop a treatment plan. Medication plans and fasting routines may be necessary depending on the surgeon’s guidelines. PCL reconstruction surgery can be handled as an inpatient or outpatient procedure, so the patient should expect to remain at the hospital for post-surgical evaluation. Additionally, the patient should arrange travel accommodations in advance.
What happens during the process?
The surgeon accesses the PCL by drilling a tunnel into the femur or tibia. In addition to this opening, the surgeon requires a graft to reconstruct the connection between the two bones. The patella tendon is the commonly used graft for younger, active athletes and has demonstrated much success in past outcomes. Using arthroscopic tools, the surgeon threads a graft through the tunnels. The new graft is secured by staples or sutures. In the following months of recovery, the patient is advised to resume activity slowly and carefully and to wear a brace.
What are the risks and potential complications?
Risks that accompany surgical procedures include but are not limited to improper anesthesia, infections, nerve damage, excessive bleeding, an inability of the wound to heal, decreased joint stability and bone fractures. There is also the risk that the artificial joints are not implemented properly.
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