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What is PCL Tear Surgery?

The Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) is a major ligament in the back of the knee. When this ligament is torn partially or completely, the PCL tear surgery is performed.

What causes a PCL Tear?

PCL injuries are rare and are usually caused when a bent knee is hit by a hard object or it can be caused while playing sports or during an accident.

Symptoms / when to call your doctor

When a PCL tear happens, you’ll experience mild knee pain. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Mild to severe pain in the knee

  • Instability in the knee causing wobbliness

  • Swelling of the knee

Why you should see a doctor?

PCL tears are rare but they should be taken care of if you are experiencing pain. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to early osteoarthritis.

How is it diagnosed?

A PCL tear can be diagnosed by a simple physical examination. To understand the extent of damage, the doctor may recommend:

  • X ray

  • MRI scan

  • Bone scan

Dietary Restrictions

Having a healthy diet after the PCL surgery is important. It will help the knee to heal faster.

Some of the foods that you can include in the diet are:

  • Lean proteins like egg, chicken, fish, lentils

  • Green leafy vegetables

  • Citrus fruits

Treatment for PCL Tear

After taking a look at the tests, the doctor will grade the PCL tear as Grade 1,2,3 or 4.

For a Grade 1 or 2 tears, if no other ligaments are damaged, the doctor may recommend:

  • Rest

  • Hot and cold compress

  • Pain medication

  • Using a knee brace or crutch

However, if it is a Grade 3 tear, you will need to undergo surgery.

Types of treatments:

SpecificsArthroscopic SurgeryOpen Surgery
Incision2-3 Small incisionsLarge incision across the knee
Blood LossLessHigh
Recovery time2-3 weeks2-3 weeks
Hospital stay1 day2-3 days
InvasiveNoYes

Arthroscopic Surgery

An arthroscopic surgery also called; keyhole surgery is a simple under 2-hour surgery to repair a PCL tear in the knee.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given spinal or general anaesthesia for the procedure

  • Small incisions are made in the knee

  • A tiny camera is inserted into the incision

  • The camera footage is visible on a screen which guides the doctor to perform the surgery

  • Using the patient’s tissue or tissue from a bank, the doctor repairs the ligament

  • The incisions are taped and the patient is taken to the recovery room.

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 1-day hospital stay with mild pain

  • Resume to normal routine after 2-3 weeks and active sports after 6-12 months

  • Using ice pack to relieve swelling and regular exercise to strengthen the knee are advised

  • Having a diet of lean proteins, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits is important for recovery

Risks involved in the treatment:

There are very less complications through this treatment. Some of the risks may be:

  • Numbness

  • Infection

  • Blood clots

  • Injury to nerves in the knee

  • Pain

Open Surgery

In this procedure, a large incision is made in the knee to repair the ligament.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given general anaesthesia for the procedure

  • A large incision is made in the damaged knee

  • The ligament is repaired/replaced through the incision

  • The incision is sutured and the patient is taken to the recovery room

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 2- 3 days hospital stay with mild pain

  • Resume to normal routine after 2-3 weeks and active sports after 6-12 months

  • Having a diet of lean proteins, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits is important for recovery

Risks involved in the treatment:

There are very less complications through this treatment. Some of the risks may be:

  • allergic or adverse reaction to anaesthesia or other drugs

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Injury to nerves and blood vessels in and around the knee