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MCL Reconstruction

MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) reconstruction is a surgical procedure that differs from repair. It is typically indicated when the MCL is so severely damaged that it cannot be repaired effectively. This often involves using a graft, either from the patient’s own body (autograft) or from a donor (allograft), to reconstruct the damaged ligament.

The MCL extends from the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone). It is the primary stabilizer of the knee against valgus (outward) forces.  The MCL resists forces that would open the inner side of the knee and is crucial for activities that involve side-to-side movements. When damage to the MCL causes major instability, it must be reconstructed to approximate the natural anatomy of the ligament and restore knee stability.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) reconstruction is a surgical procedure performed to rebuild the MCL in the knee using a graft. The damaged ligament must be replaced with a graft which may be taken from elsewhere in your body or from an outside donor.

It is generally indicated when there is severe MCL damage (Grade III) where the ligament is torn in a way that cannot be repaired including acute injuries with multiple lacerations; and when the MCL injury is part of a more complex knee injury involving multiple other ligaments. It is used to address persistent instability in the knee after an MCL injury.

The initial recovery phase focuses on minimizing pain and swelling, using modalities like ice, elevation, and pain medication. The use of a knee brace is common to protect the reconstructed ligament. Weight-bearing status is determined by the surgeon, often allowing partial weight-bearing with the aid of crutches initially, progressing to full weight-bearing as healing occurs.

Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in the recovery process following MCL reconstruction. The primary goals of rehabilitation are to restore range of motion, improve strength, and facilitate a return to normal activities. Early-stage rehabilitation typically includes gentle exercises to increase knee mobility and muscle activation exercises to prevent atrophy.

As healing progresses, the focus shifts to more advanced exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee, particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings. Balance and proprioceptive training are also important to improve knee stability and coordination.

In the later stages of rehabilitation, the exercises become more dynamic and sport-specific, particularly for athletes. The timeline for returning to sports varies depending on the extent of the injury and the type of sport, but it typically ranges from six months to a year.

While the procedure has a high success rate, patient commitment to postoperative care and rehabilitation is crucial for optimal outcomes. Your Silicon Valley Orthopedic surgeon will discuss the risks, benefits and alternative to MCL reconstruction based on the patient’s specific condition and lifestyle
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists at Silicon Valley Orthopedics, help patients of all ages and all activity levels to receive the care they need to restore function and enjoy the activities they love.

Schedule a knee consultation

When you or a loved one has a traumatic knee injury, contact Silicon Valley Orthopedics to schedule a consultation. We have offices in Fremont, Los Gatos and Menlo Park. At Silicon Valley Orthopedics we strive for compassionate, personalized care and treatment options geared to your needs.