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Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Repair

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Repair


Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) surgery is done to repair a torn ligament in the knee.

Posterior Cruciate Ligament.

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Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is done when other methods have not helped. It may also be done in people whose PCL is no longer connected to the bone. The goal of surgery is to improve function and ease pain.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Knee instability
  • Pain, numbness, or stiffness in the knee that does not get better
  • The need for more surgery

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking excess alcohol
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the wounds
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Numbness or tingling in the knee
  • New or worsening symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • The medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging for a ride to and from surgery
  • Tests that will need to be done before surgery, such as images of the knee




  • Knee ligament repair. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/orthopaedic/knee_ligament_repair_92,P07675.
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury of the knee. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/medial-collateral-ligament-mcl-injury-of-the-knee.
  • Tandogan NR, Kayaalp A. Surgical treatment of medial knee ligament injuries: current indications and techniques. EFORT Open Rev. 2016 Feb;1(2):27-33.


  • Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.