The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of four ligaments in the knee that work together to form a hinged joint, giving it stability and strength. Located on the inside of the knee, the MCL connects the top of the shinbone (tibia) to the bottom of the thighbone (femur), and provides stability to the inner knee. The MCL is the most commonly injured of all knee ligaments. A blow to the outside of the knee (and sometimes non-contact stress as well) stretches or tears the structures on the inside of the knee.
Injuries to the MCL, called MCL sprains, are categorized by grade. Grade one is the least severe, and indicates only a stretching of the ligament. Grade two is a partial MCL tear, and grade three is a complete tear, which commonly causes joint instability. Most MCL injuries can be managed conservatively and will heal with rest. The majority of patients sustaining MCL injuries (of varying severity) achieve pre-injury levels of activity without surgery. When on rare occasions a surgeon needs to operate, either because the ligament cannot repair itself, or because the MCL injury occurs with other ligament injuries, the operation must be done openly. The MCL cannot be repaired arthroscopically.
Before surgery, the surgeon uses arthroscopy to make a thorough examination of the extent of the injury. Arthroscopy involves inserting a small, pencil-thin camera through a tiny incision. Afterward the surgeon makes a small incision behind the knee and reattaches the ligament to the bone using large stitches, bone staples, or a metal screw. If the tear is in the middle of the ligament, the surgeon stitches the ligament together. The outlook for recovering from a MCL injury is good, whether surgery is required or not. Sometimes, an MCL tear can cause fractures in the growth plates at the end of the bones in adolescents.
A surgical repair used to reconstruct the MCL (medial collateral ligament) of the knee. This procedures involves the surgeon making one or more small incisions around the knee and inserting a small surgical camera (about the width of a pencil) into the incision. This camera allows the surgeon to see the knee in high definition and navigate around all of the structures of the knee. Since the MCL can not be sewn back together, another piece of tissue must be used to graft the two pieces together. Your surgeon will discuss the most effective area to graft tissue. The torn portion of ligament will then be removed using microsurgical instruments. Small tunnels are made in the bone and the new tissue is threaded through these tunnels for stability. The newly repaired ligament is then attached to the bone. Once the damaged ligament has been repaired the incisions are closed with small stitch or sterile strips.
MCL Repair is performed as an outpatient procedure using a Minimally Invasive Approach at Regency Healthcare’s state of the art surgical facility. Patients will not need to stay overnight and will be able to leave the surgical practice the same day.