What is a PCL knee Reconstruction?
A reconstruction involves replacing an injured/torn ligament with a ‘donor’ tendon. This is typically reserved for important ligaments that are unable to heal themselves, or heal in a position that fails to provide stability to the joint. A ‘Donor’ tendon is a tendon that is taken from another part of the body to substitute for the injured/torn ligament.
In the setting of a PCL knee reconstruction, the most common ‘donor’ tendon used is”
- Hamstring tendon – one or two
Who requires a PCL Knee Reconstruction?
As outlined in the PCL Injury section, there are two main scenarios where a PCL reconstruction is considered:
Failed conservative management of an isolated grade 3 PCL tear
When a patient experiences ongoing knee instability despite appropriate rehabilitation.
Multi-ligamentous Knee Injury
This represents a serious knee injury, and a tailored surgical approach is required.
How is a PCL Knee Reconstruction performed?
Dr. Smith performs a minimally invasive PCL reconstruction with the use of a single Hamstring tendon and keyhole arthroscopy.
You are admitted on the day of the operation and met by the hospital staff. The anaesthetist will introduce themselves to you and discuss the anaesthetic options for you, including minimising pain following the procedure.
The Hamstring tendon (Semi-tendinosus) is ‘harvested’ through a small incision over the front of shin bone (tibia), near the knee joint.
The tendon is configured into a ‘PCL’ graft with the use of sutures.
Tunnels are created inside the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) in the anatomic position of the original native PCL. The Hamstring ‘graft’ is then positioned inside these tunnels and held in position with the use of screws or ‘suspensory’ buttons. The wounds are closed and a bandage is applied. A splint may also be used in the early phases following the procedure.
PCL Knee Reconstruction – Recovery time
Typically, you will require the use of crutches and use of a knee splint for the first 4-6 weeks. During this period of time, ‘Prone passive knee flexion’ exercises are encouraged. This allows you to get some movement back into the knee joint, without putting undue stress on recent reconstruction.
Inline running is typically allowed at 5-6 months following the procedure. This is followed by sport specific exercises and training, aiming for a return to sport between 9-12 months following the procedure.