In patients who have a complete Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) and noticeable side-to-side instability with activities, a lateral collateral ligament surgery is recommended. LCL surgery is very effective in restoring side-to-side stability to the knee and preventing varus gapping. During a clinical exam and varus stress radiographs, Mr Sethi will be able to confirm whether or not there is a complete LCL tear. It is important to note that an MRI scan can be inaccurate – especially in cases of a chronic situation where the LCL heals improperly.
Treatment for LCL Injury
The severity of the LCL injury will determine the treatment method. In less sever cases, a remedy of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) along with the use of anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and pain killers can alleviate discomfort and help diminish swelling. Increasing strength and rang-of-motion can be achieved through physiotherapy and ultimately restore the knee back to a healthy state.
Typically, patients who have a complete LCL tear will require surgical treatment. This surgical procedure is typically done as an open procedure in conjunct with arthroscopy. Mr Sethi will replace the torn lateral collateral ligament with a tissue graft. The graft is passed through the bone tunnels and attached to the femur and fibula.
Mr Sethi prefers an anatomic technique for surgical reconstruction.
Rehabilitation for LCL surgery involves early range of motion of the knee, starting at a minimum of 0 to 90 degrees the first day, and then after 2 weeks progressing further. Isolated hamstring exercises should be avoided for the first 4 months post-operatively. Patients should not place weight on the injured leg for 6 weeks and then may progress off of crutches and start the use of a stationary bike starting at week 6. They should avoid side-to-side activities, or step-up activities for 5 months post-operatively. For athletes, Mr Sethi usually recommends the use of a secure brace to allow them to initiate these activities and request that they wear it through the first year after surgery to maximise graft healing.