Posterior Cruciate Ligament
The Posterior Cruciate Ligament (or PCL) is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It connects the posterior intercondylar area of the tibia to the medial condyle of the femur. This configuration allows the PCL to resist forces pushing the tibia posteriorly relative to the femur.
The incidence of injuries of the PCL is not as common as its counterpart Anterior Cruciate Ligament ACL. This is mainly due to the greater thickness and strength of the PCL. Nevertheless, the most common way in which the PCL is injured is by direct impact to the front of the tibia itself, usually when the knee is bent.
The PCL does not heal on its own, so surgery is usually required in complete tears of the ligament. Surgery usually takes place after a few weeks, in order to allow swelling to decrease and regular motion to return to the knee. A procedure called ligament reconstruction is used to replace the torn PCL with a new ligament, which is usually a graft taken from the hamstring or Achilles tendon from a host cadaver. An arthroscope allows a complete evaluation of the entire knee joint, including the knee cap (patella), the cartilage surfaces, the meniscus, the ligaments (ACL & PCL), and the joint lining. Then, the new ligament is attached to the bone of the thigh and lower leg with screws to hold it in place.