Femoroacetabular impingement in 45 professional athletes: associated pathologies and return to sport following arthroscopic decompression

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2007 Jul;15(7):908-14. doi: 10.1007/s00167-007-0332-x. Epub 2007 May 4.


Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) occurs when an osseous abnormality of the proximal femur (cam) or acetabulum (pincer) triggers damage to the acetabular labrum and articular cartilage in the hip. Although the precise etiology of FAI is not well understood, both types of FAI are common in athletes presenting with hip pain, loss of range-of-motion, and disability in athletics. An open surgical approach to decompressing FAI has shown good clinical outcomes; however, this highly invasive approach inherently may delay or preclude a high level athlete's return to play. The purpose of this study was to define associated pathologies and determine if an arthroscopic approach to treating FAI can allow professional athletes to return to high-level sport. Hip arthroscopy for the treatment of FAI allows professional athletes to return to professional sport. Between October 2000 and September 2005, 45 professional athletes underwent hip arthroscopy for the decompression of FAI. Operative and return-to-play data were obtained from patient records. Average time to follow-up was 1.6 years (range: 6 months to 5.5 years). Forty two (93%) athletes returned to professional competition following arthroscopic decompression of FAI. Three athletes did not return to play; however, all had diffuse osteoarthritis at the time of arthroscopy. Thirty-five athletes (78%) remain active in professional sport at an average follow-up of 1.6 years. Arthroscopic treatment of FAI allows professional athletes to return to professional sport.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery*
  • Cartilage, Articular / injuries
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiopathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / surgery
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Fibrocartilage / injuries
  • Fibrocartilage / physiopathology
  • Fibrocartilage / surgery
  • Hip Joint / physiopathology
  • Hip Joint / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / physiopathology
  • Joint Diseases / surgery*
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries
  • Ligaments, Articular / physiopathology
  • Ligaments, Articular / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies