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Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Surgery

Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

The posterior cruciate ligament is situated at the back of the knee and is one of the more important connective tissues that join the thigh bone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia). This ligament prevents the tibia from moving excessively to the back.

Cruciate ligaments are found inside the knee joints and are placed in a crossed position with each other (anterior and posterior cruciate ligament). These ligaments are responsible for controlling the back and forth movement of the leg from the knee.

The posterior cruciate ligament is helpful in preventing the knee from moving extremely in the backward motion. It is comparatively stronger than the anterior cruciate ligament and also tends to get injured less often.

The posterior cruciate ligament is not injured more often and is also difficult to diagnose the problem in case of an injury to it. Most often the cruciate ligament may get injured along with the surrounding knee joint components such as bone, cartilage and other ligaments.

An injury to the ligament is termed as a ‘sprain’ and is classified according to different grades depending on the severity of the damage:

Grade 1 sprainsIn this the posterior cruciate ligament is mildly damaged with a slight stretching seen. The knee joint is stable in this type of injury.

Grade 2 sprainsThis type of sprain causes the ligament to stretch, which makes it loose. It is also known as a ‘partial tear’ of the ligament.

Grade 3 sprainsThis is the type of sprain where the ligament is completely torn. This leaves the ligaments in two separate pieces that cause the knee joint to become unstable and weak.

Causes of Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

There are several different ways that a posterior cruciate ligament gets injured through a forceful and impacting trauma to the knee joint, such as:

  • Heavy and direct blow to the front of the knee
  • Stretching or pulling the ligament
  • Misstep can also cause a tear in the ligament

Symptoms of Posterior Cruciate Ligament injury

The most commonly seen signs and symptoms of a posterior cruciate ligament injury are:

  • Pain + swift swelling after injury
  • Swelling causes knee to become stiff and results in limping gait
  • Walking becomes difficult
  • Unstable knee feels weak

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Examination/Diagnosis for Posterior Cruciate Ligament injury

The doctor will initially enquire about the visible symptoms as well as your medical history. This is followed by a thorough physical examination to check the status of the injured knee as well as to determine the difference by comparing it to the healthy (non-injured) knee.

The injured knee can be seen bending slightly backwards when bent. The doctor will then perform imaging tests to determine the severity of the injury to the knee and the posterior cruciate ligament, such as:

X-Ray

An x-ray test helps to determine if the cause of the damage to the ligament is due to a bone or has broken a piece of bone when it got torn (avulsion fracture).

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

An MRI test is used as it gives a better view of soft tissues such as the posterior cruciate ligaments and other tissues surrounding it.

Treatments for a Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

There are several methods of treating a posterior cruciate ligament injury, such as:

1. Surgical treatments:

A surgical treatment is usually recommended for a posterior cruciate ligament injury if there are accompanying injuries to the surrounding structure of the knee joint such as multiple torn ligaments or a dislocated knee.

Ligament rebuilding

The torn posterior cruciate ligament needs to be rebuilt as it cannot be restored by simply stitching the two torn ends together. This is done through a replacing the torn ligament with a healthy tissue graft. This tissue graft is harvested from another part of the body (autograft) or sourced from a cadaver (allograft).

The surgeon will use a minimally invasive procedure called an arthroscopic method to rebuild the torn ligament usually. The arthroscope is a thin and flexible surgical tube that has a video camera and surgical instruments attached that help the doctor perform all the required procedures through very small (keyhole) incisions.

This less invasive surgical method is less painful, needs less hospital time and is also quicker in terms of recovery.

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2. Non-surgical treatments:

In most cases where the injury to the posterior cruciate ligament is mild in nature the injury may often get healed naturally with a little rest. If not, the doctor initially suggests non-surgical methods for treating such an injury, such as:

RICE

The ‘RICE’ method consists of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation which can help fasten the natural recovery.

Immobilization

The doctor may suggest using a brace to support the injured posterior cruciate ligament that prevents the knee from moving. Crutches are recommended to keep the weight away from the injured leg till the injured ligament gets healed.

Physical Therapy

When the swelling decreases an organized rehabilitation program is recommended by the doctor. The physical therapist will suggest certain exercises to help restore function in the injured knee and to strengthen the surrounding leg muscles.

What IndianMedTrip offers for Posterior Cruciate Ligament surgery in India?

IndianMedTrip is a well known medical tourism company that is popular for its team of dedicated experts. This team is well able to arrange your surgical visit to India with the utmost efficiency and care. IndianMedTrip is well connected with a large number of global-quality standard orthopedic hospitals and clinics in major Indian cities that have the most advanced and modern surgical equipments. The doctors and surgeons associated with IndianMedTrip are vastly experienced and well-trained in managing complicated cases of posterior cruciate ligament injury treatment in India at the most affordable cost.

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