Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 47, Issue 11, pp 1523–1532 | Cite as

Acute posterior cruciate ligament injuries: effect of location, severity, and associated injuries on surgical management

  • Mark A. Anderson
  • F. Joseph Simeone
  • William E. Palmer
  • Connie Y. Chang
Scientific Article



To correlate MRI findings of patients with posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury and surgical management.

Materials and methods

A retrospective search yielded 79 acute PCL injuries (36 ± 16 years old, 21 F, 58 M). Two independent readers graded PCL tear location (proximal, middle, or distal third) and severity (low-grade or high-grade partial/complete) and evaluated injury of other knee structures. When available, operative reports were examined and the performed surgical procedure was compared with injury grade, location, and presence of associated injuries.


The most commonly injured knee structures in acute PCL tears were posterolateral corner (58/79, 73%) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) (48/79, 61%). Of the 64 patients with treatment information, 31/64 (48%) were managed surgically: 12/31 (39%) had PCL reconstruction, 13/31 (42%) had ACL reconstruction, 10/31 (32%) had posterolateral corner reconstruction, 9/31 (29%) had LCL reconstruction, 8/31 (26%) had meniscectomy, and 8/31 (26%) had fixation of a fracture. Proximal third PCL tear and multiligamentous injury were more commonly associated with surgical management (P < 0.05). Posterolateral and posteromedial corner, ACL, collateral ligament, meniscus, patellar retinaculum, and gastrocnemius muscle injury, and fracture were more likely to result in surgical management (P < 0.05). Patients with high-grade partial/complete PCL tear were more likely to have PCL reconstruction as a portion of surgical management (P < 0.05).


Location of PCL tear and presence of other knee injuries were associated with surgical management while high-grade/complete PCL tear grade was associated with PCL reconstruction. MRI reporting of PCL tear location, severity, and of other knee structure injuries is important for guiding clinical management.


Posterior cruciate ligament PCL tear PCL injury PCL reconstruction 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was waived for individual participants included in the study. The study was approved by the local Institutional Review Board (IRB) and HIPAA compliant.


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Copyright information

© ISS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. Anderson
    • 1
  • F. Joseph Simeone
    • 2
  • William E. Palmer
    • 2
  • Connie Y. Chang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, Division of Musculoskeletal Imaging and InterventionMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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