What is the treatment for an PCL injury?
Not all PCL injuries require surgery. A strain or sprain can heal on its own with proper rehabilitation. The severity of symptoms and the condition of the PCL will determine if surgery is needed.
Non-surgical treatment of an PCL injury:
Initial treatment of both surgical and non-surgical PCL injuries follows the RICE method:
- Rest the joint
- Ice injury to reduce swelling
- Compress swelling with a bandage
- Elevate the injury
Dr. Williams could also recommend a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen to relieve any initial pain or swelling. If the injury’s severity determines the need for a splint, the knee will be splinted to keep it in a straight-leg position. This splinting combined with rehabilitation including physical therapy will strengthen the muscles around the knee, supporting the joint and preventing further injury.
Surgical treatment of an PCL injury:
A PCL tear that will not heal on its own indicates the PCL has been pulled away from the bone, causing either a severe or complete tear. Surgery is then needed to restore knee stability and function. Dr. Williams is very experienced and skilled at reconstructing and repairing the damaged PCL. The following surgical procedures may be used to repair the PCL:
- Transtibial posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) reconstruction:
- If the PCL has been pulled and detached from its anchor point, it can be reattached to the bone with a surgical screw, pin, or strong sutures. It is important that the reattachment follow the original footprint of the torn PCL.
- Autograft: the PCL can be surgically reconstructed using a piece of the patient’s own tissue. The graft can be obtained from several sources including; bone-patellar tendon-bone (BTB) graft, hamstrings, or quadriceps tendon. The advantage of an autograft is that it uses the body’s own tissue, almost eliminating the risk of rejection.
- Allograft: Tissue taken from a donor source, often a cadaver. Advantages of allografts include a quicker initial recovery and lower surgical morbidity of the graft.