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MCL Repair

The MCL, located on the inner side of the knee, connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone). It helps stabilize the knee and prevents it from bending inward. Injuries to the MCL are common, particularly among athletes. These injuries range from mild sprains to complete tears and often accompany ACL tears. When this ligament is injured, it can result in pain, swelling, and instability of the knee.

MCL injuries are commonly graded on a scale of I to III:

  • Grade I: Mild sprains with minimal tearing.
  • Grade II: More significant tearing but the ligament is not completely torn.
  • Grade III: Complete tear of the ligament.

Nonoperative treatment for isolated partial grade I and II medial collateral ligament tears is widely agreed upon, given the fundamental healing capacity of the ligament.

Medial collateral ligament repair, distinct from reconstruction, is a surgical procedure focused on mending the damaged MCL to restore its original function and stability to the knee. MCL repair is called direct repair. This involves stitching together the torn ends of the ligament back together.  Suture augmentation may be used to reinforce the repaired ligament under certain circumstances. If the ligament is torn off the bone, suture anchors may be used to secure the ligament to the bone. It is a minimally invasive treatment, or it may entail a small open incision. MCL repair may be performed on an outpatient basis.

MCL repair is typically reserved for more severe injuries if the patient has sufficient tissue quality for repair. It is recommended for:

  • Complete (Grade III) tears.
  • Tears where the ligament is detached from the bone (avulsion injuries).
  • Injuries not responding to conservative treatment.
  • Cases where instability continues despite nonsurgical interventions.
  • When the tear occurs along with a tear of the ACL ligament that will be surgically repaired
  • When the MCL is injured along with multi-ligament injuries.

Recovery involves pain management, reducing swelling and protecting the knee with a brace.

After surgery, rehabilitation is critical to help restore strength, mobility, and function to the knee joint. This typically involves a combination of physical therapy and home exercises to improve range of motion, reduce swelling, and prevent stiffness.

Depending on the patient’s progress in rehabilitation, a full return to sports or strenuous activities can often be achieved in several months.


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.