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pcl reconstruction

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PCL Reconstruction

PCL or Posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is a surgical procedure to repair or replace ones torn Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) and to restore stability in the knee joint.

Why it is required

It is used to stabilize the knee. PCL reconstruction is used if:

  • The knee feels unstable while doing daily activities. 
  • If ...
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PCL Reconstruction

PCL or Posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is a surgical procedure to repair or replace ones torn Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) and to restore stability in the knee joint.

Why it is required

It is used to stabilize the knee. PCL reconstruction is used if:

  • The knee feels unstable while doing daily activities. 
  • If one feels continuous pain in the knees. 
  • If a person faces problems in taking part in sports or other physical activities; due to problem in the knee.

Surgical procedure

At beginning of the surgery the doctor administers anethesia.PCL reconstruction involves replacing or repairing the damaged PCL with alternative tissues. For this three different types of grafting methods can be used:

  • Autografting: Here the patient’s own tissues are used for grafting.
  • Allografting: here the tissues of another person are used for grafting.
  • Use of artificial material for repairing the damaged PCL.

Generally tissues from the hamstrings tendons from the leg are taken for the grafting procedure. Sometimes Kneecap (patella) tendon graft is also used for the grafting procedure.

An Arthroscope is used for the surgical procedure. The surgeon makes two small insertions, one on the inner side of the knee and another inside the knee over the tibia. Once the problem is assessed, the surgeon removes the torn ligament with a shaver or other medical instruments. If PCL is done through autografting, the Autograft will be removed from the patients the knee cap tendon or the hamstring tendon. The surgeon brings the new tissue to replace the PCL through a tunnel that he makes in the bone. The new tissue or ligament is attached to the bone with screws. With time the damaged ligament heals and the bone tunnels also fill up. When the surgery ends the surgeon stitches the cuts and dressing is done.

Before PCL procedure

  • Consult the doctor about which medicines to continue and which ones to stop. The doctor may restrict the use of drugs which makes blood clotting difficult, like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve) etc.

  • If the person is suffering from cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout, or any other such illness, he before the surgery, he should inform the doctor immediately.

  • The patient will not be allowed to eat or drink ay thing before the surgery, approximately six hours before the surgery is to be done. Before the surgery the nursing staff will measure the person’s crutches, the doctor will examine the knee to see whether it is ready for surgery.

After the PCL procedure

The patient will be moved to the ward after he wakes from the effect of anaesthesia. A PCL brace is fitted to limit movement of the knee. This may be there for about two weeks. Quadriceps exercises are advised to strengthen the thighs. The patient will be advised to use crutches for about six weeks; he may also need to wear Cryocuff sleeve, which are to be removed only at the time of exercise and mobilisation. The patient is generally discharged after two to three days after the procedure.

The patient might experience bruising and swelling in the calf, shin or site of the grafting, he may also experience numbness in the shin or around the scar. Before going home the patient should consult the doctor about all the problems that might occur and what he should do in that case.

Risks involved

  • Stiffness of the knee.
  • Constant pain in the knee.
  • Constant swelling of the knee.
  • Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or 'blood clots in the veins.
  • Infection of the knee.
  • Failure of the graft.
  • Damage to the artery or vein.
  • Swelling of the calf.