Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine whether pain intensity and wound complication rates differ between patients with and without preservation of the infrapatellar fat pad (IPFP) after minimally invasive total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The authors also sought to determine whether IPFP preservation affects operation time.
Materials and methods: This retrospective study included 448 knees with primary TKA. The IPFP was totally resected in 201 knees (IPFP-R group), and was preserved in 247 knees (IPFP-P group). Pain score was determined using the visual analog scale during the first 72 h after surgery. Wound complication rates and operation times were also evaluated. A wound complication was defined as persistent wound drainage for three or more days after surgery.
Results: There was no difference in pain levels between the two groups. However, there were fewer wound complications in the IPFP-P group (3 %) than in the IPFP-R group (13 %). The operation time was longer in the IPFP-P group than in the IPFP-R group (70 vs. 64 min, respectively).
Conclusions: Although IPFP preservation delayed operation time, it decreased wound complications after MIS TKA. These findings are important to consider when deciding whether or not to resect the IPFP. Whenever possible, IPFP preservation is probably the preferred technique to reduce wound complications.