What is PCL?
PCL means Posterior Cruciate Ligament. PCL ligaments are a pair of extremely thick and strong ligaments in the center of the knee joint. Posterior cruciate ligament lies behind the anterior cruciate ligament on the outer aspect at the back of the tibia that runs upwards and forwards to the inner aspect of the thigh. PCL is significantly stronger than the ACL. PCL controls the front to back movement of the knees and can be torn or ruptured during sports activities or from a direct injury below the knee. PCL injury may heal on its own but it may require more time than normal injury to heal. Minor or moderate lengthening of the PCL is treated by physiotherapy or muscle strengthening whereas severe PCL injury requires reconstructive surgery.
The primary functions of the PCL are:-
- Stabilizing the knee movements on rotation.
- To prevent backward movement of the shin on the thigh.
- To prevent hyperextension of the knee and bending backward on itself.
- A powerful force to the knee.
- A direct blow to the front of the knee.
- Pulling or stretching the ligament.
General symptoms of PCL injury are:-
- Difficulty in walking.
- Severe Pain.
- Stiffness in the knees.
An MRI scan is not necessary to diagnose an acute PCL tear. Detailed history and clinical examination are much more reliable in such cases. MRI scan can confirm the diagnosis and give additional information about the injury so the doctors can plan intervention in certain circumstances.
Patients with an injury just in the posterior cruciate ligament can heal with time without the surgery. In such cases the doctor may recommend simple, nonsurgical options:-
RICE: - Patients with PCL injury are initially recommended with RICE method which means rest, ice, gentle compression, and elevation. Rice method helps in controlling pain, swelling and speedy recovery.
Immobilization: - Patients are recommended to wear a brace to prevent the knee from moving. To further protect the knee crutches are given to keep off the weight from the leg.
Physical therapy: - Physical therapy is recommended as the swelling goes down. Specific exercises are prescribed to patients for restoring the function of the knees and strengthen the leg muscles that support it. Strengthening the muscles in the front of the thigh results in successful recovery.
The surgical approach is recommended to patients who have combined injury. In case of patients who have dislocation in the knee and several torn ligaments including the posterior cruciate ligament, surgery is the only option. Surgery involves reconstructing of the torn ligament with the use of a tissue graft which is taken from another part of the patient’s body, or from the donor. Surgery is usually performed with an arthroscope which involves making small incisions. Arthroscope technique has some major advantages. This technique involves less loss of blood, shorter stay at the hospital, less scarring and faster recovery.
PCL Repair Surgery can be very expensive in western countries. Surgical procedures to repair posterior cruciate ligaments continue to improve with more advanced techniques. PCL repair surgery in India is available at the most affordable costs with the most advanced techniques, equipment and best orthopaedic hospitals. The success rate of orthopedic surgeries in India is know all around the world. Obtaining the best medical treatments at such affordable costs has attracted many people’s attention around the globe.