Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Reconstruction
The knee is the largest joint of the body and is stabilized by a set of ligaments, which include four primary ligaments, which includes the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). The LCL is a thin set of tissues present on the outer side of the knee, connecting the thighbone (femur) to the fibula (bone of the lower leg). It provides stability as well as limits the sidewise rotation of the knee. The LCL may tear due to trauma, sports injuries or a direct impact to the knee. Tears or injury of the LCL may cause instability of the knee that can be either reconstructed or repaired to regain the strength and movement of the knee.
Non-surgical treatments for a torn LCL may include rest, ice, elevation, bracing and physical therapy to reduce swelling and regain activity, as well as strengthen and improve the flexibility of the knee. Your doctor may recommend surgery if these non-surgical interventions fail to provide much relief. Surgical interventions include repair and reconstruction of the torn ligament. In this case, the ligament is torn from the upper or lower ends of attachment, then repair of the LCL is done with sutures or staples. If the ligament is torn in the middle or if the injury is older than 3 weeks, LCL reconstruction is recommended.
LCL reconstruction involves the replacement of the torn ligament with a healthy tissue or graft, which can be taken either from a tissue bank (called allograft) or from your own body (called autograft). The type of graft used depends upon your condition and choice of your surgeon. This procedure, however, is performed through an open incision and not arthroscopically.