A Systematic Review of the Outcomes of Posterolateral Corner Knee Injuries, Part 2: Surgical Treatment of Chronic Injuries

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There are a variety of reported surgical techniques outcomes of chronic grade III posterolateral corner (PLC) knee injuries. It is unknown if outcomes differ among the various surgical treatments.


To systematically review the literature and report subjective and objective outcomes for surgical treatment strategies for chronic grade III PLC injuries to determine the optimal surgical technique.

Study Design:

Systematic review; Level of evidence, 4.


A systematic review of the literature including Cochrane, PubMed, Medline, and Embase was performed. The following search terms were used: posterolateral corner knee, posterolateral knee, posterolateral instability, multiligament knee, and knee dislocation. Inclusion criteria were outcome studies of surgical treatment for chronic PLC knee injuries with a minimum 2-year follow-up, subjective outcomes, objective outcomes including varus stability, and subgroup data on PLC injuries. Two investigators independently reviewed all abstracts. Accepted definitions of varus stability on examination or stress radiographs, and the need for revision surgery, were used to categorically define success and failure.


Fifteen studies with a total of 456 patients were included in this study. The 15 studies included 5 with level 3 evidence and 10 with level 4 evidence. The mean age of the patients in each study ranged from 25.2 to 40 years, the reported mean time to surgery ranged from 5.5 to 52.8 months, and the mean follow-up duration ranged from 2 to 16.3 years. Mean postoperative Lysholm scores ranged from 65.5 to 91.8; mean postoperative International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) scores ranged from 62.6 to 86.0. Based on objective stability, there was an overall success rate of 90% and a 10% failure rate of PLC reconstruction. A variety of surgical techniques were reported.


Chronic PLC injuries were reconstructed in all studies, and while techniques varied, the surgical management of chronic PLC injuries had a 90% success rate and a 10% failure rate according to the individual investigators' examination or stress radiographic assessment of objective outcomes. More than half of the 456 patients had a combined posterior cruciate ligament-PLC injury. Surgical techniques included variations of fibular slings, capsular shifts, and anatomic-based techniques (fibular tunnel and tibial tunnel). Further research is needed to determine the optimal surgical technique for treating chronic grade III PLC injuries.

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