• Overview

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Your posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are two large ligaments that control front to back movement in your knee. A sports injury or a fall directly on the front of your knee can tear your PCL.

The ligament has the ability to heal however it may grow back incorrectly causing your knee to give way. Additional symptoms of PCL problems include knee pain and longer term arthritis and wear and tear.

Once your PCL has healed your consultant may prescribe physiotherapy to add length and muscle strength. If conservative treatment does not relieve your symptoms your consultant may recommend PCL Reconstruction.

What happens during PCL Reconstruction?

PCL Reconstruction is usually performed under general anaesthetic. It is usually performed arthroscopically and takes about one hour.

Your surgeon will make two or three small incisions and insert a tiny camera to examine the inside of your knee. They will wash out any loose material caused by wear of the joint surfaces. They will trim the ends of the ligament in preparation for a graft. Most reconstructions use hamstring tendons to join the torn ends of the ligament. Special surgical screws fix the ends to bone.

Your surgical wounds will be closed using stitches or staples. Your knee will be bandaged. If more than one ligament has been reconstructed you may need to wear a brace.

PCL Reconstruction is usually performed as a day case meaning you can go home the day of your procedure.

Going home after PCL Reconstruction

Most patients go home using crutches. However you may be able to bear weight on your leg as comfort allows. A physiotherapist will give you exercises to help you regain your range of motion.

Ice and elevate your leg to help control any swelling.

You should discuss any return to work with your consultant.

Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following PCL Reconstruction. As with any surgery there can be complications:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (incision)
  • Scarring
  • Blood clots (DVT - deep vein thrombosis)
  • Difficulty passing urine

Specific complications of PCL Reconstruction may include:

  • Graft failure

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon?

Wessex Hospital

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377

By car: our hospital is conveniently located just off Junction 12 of the M3 between Southampton and Winchester, with free parking available. By public transport: the nearest train station is Chandlers Ford - a 20 minute train journey from Southampton Central station. The 1 Bluestar bus, which serves Southampton, Chandlers Ford and Winchester, is just 5 minutes’ walk from the hospital.

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