Back to Journals » Orthopedic Research and Reviews » Volume 9

Optimal management of posterior cruciate ligament injuries: current perspectives

Authors Shelbourne KD, Benner RW, Ringenberg JD, Gray T

Received 13 December 2016

Accepted for publication 31 January 2017

Published 5 April 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 13—22


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Clark Hung

K Donald Shelbourne,1 Rodney W Benner,1 Jonathan D Ringenberg,2 Tinker Gray1

1Orthopaedic Surgeon, Shelbourne Knee Center, 2Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Background: The optimal management of posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries is debated by orthopedic surgeons. A natural history study (NHS) of acute, isolated PCL tears in patients with a mean follow-up of 14.3 years was previously published. The purpose of this study was to compare and contrast the results of the NHS study with those of other studies with similar follow-up time after operative and nonoperative management of isolated PCL tears.
Material and methods: With reviewing the literature, six operative management and six nonoperative management studies were found for treating isolated PCL injuries. We analyzed the subjective and objective outcomes of these 12 studies and compared them to the results of the NHS to determine optimal management of PCL injuries.
Results: Final follow-up times ranged from a mean of 6.2 to 15 years in the nonoperative studies and 6.3 to 12 years in the operative studies. Side-to-side differences in laxity following surgical management ranged from 1.1 to 7 mm on KT-1000 arthrometer testing and 2.8 to 4.7 mm on Telos stress testing. Tegner scores at final follow-up ranged from 6.6 to 7.7 in nonoperative studies and 5.7 to 7.4 in operative studies. International Knee Documentation Committee scores were 73.4, 82.7, and 84 in nonoperative studies and 65 and 87 in the operative studies. Lysholm scores were 85.2 in the nonoperative study and ranged from 81 to 92.1 in operative studies. Osteoarthritis was reported with ranges from 17% to 88% in nonoperative studies and 13.3% to 63.6% in operative studies.
Conclusion: We found that the subjective and objective results in the NHS compare favorably to those of outcomes for PCL reconstruction. Unless a technique is found that can completely restore knee stability, it is unlikely that simply reducing posterior laxity will improve outcomes or prevent the development of osteoarthritis.

Keywords: posterior cruciate ligament injuries, management, long-term outcomes

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]