A central patellar (CP) portal can be used to view the native femoral insertion site of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). It aids in the drilling of an anatomical tunnel; however, its impact on the patellar tendon and the infrapatellar fat pad remains a concern. The aim of this study was to investigate complications associated with the CP portal use in arthroscopic ACL reconstruction (ACLR).
A total of 105 patients (107 knees, 60 females) who underwent ACLR with a CP portal from 2012 to 2017 were included in this study. The mean age was 28.3 ± 12.4 years. All surgeries were single-bundle reconstructions using the trans-tibial technique via the CP and anteromedial portals. Post-operative events, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and arthroscopic findings associated with CP portal creation were evaluated.
Five patients (4.7%) had symptomatic postoperative complications, which included two patients with patellar tendonitis and three patients with fibrosis in the anterior knee compartment. Abnormal signal intensity of the patellar tendon on MRI and increased thickness at the CP portal area were found in 18 of 25 knees (72%). Three of 56 knees (5.4%) that underwent second-look arthroscopy showed fibrosis of the infrapatellar fat pad. Seven patients (12.5%) showed hypertrophy of the ligamentum mucosum.
The rate of symptomatic complications associated with CP portal placement was 4.7%; however, abnormal MRI or follow-up arthroscopy findings were much higher than clinically symptomatic patients. This study suggests that CP portal placement could provoke anterior knee compartment fibrosis or hypertrophy.