Delamination cysts: a predictor of acetabular cartilage delamination in hips with a labral tear

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2009 Apr;467(4):985-91. doi: 10.1007/s11999-008-0564-1. Epub 2008 Oct 23.


The treatment and prognosis of labral tears of the hip depend primarily on whether there is concomitant injury of the adjacent acetabular articular cartilage. We asked whether a delamination cyst on the preoperative plain radiographs correlated with delamination of the acetabular articular cartilage at the time of hip arthroscopy. We reviewed the preoperative radiographs of 125 consecutive hips that had a labral tear at hip arthroscopy for the presence of a delamination cyst. A delamination cyst was defined as an acetabular subchondral cyst either directly adjacent to a lateral acetabular cyst or in relation to a subchondral crack in the anterosuperior portion of the acetabulum. All patients with acetabular cartilage delamination at arthroscopy were identified. There were 16 patients with delamination cysts on radiographs and 15 patients with cartilage delamination at arthroscopy. A delamination cyst on the preoperative anteroposterior and/or frog lateral radiographs of the hip accurately predicted acetabular cartilage delamination, especially in hips with labral tears not caused by a major trauma. A delamination cyst is a previously unrecognized and novel radiographic sign that can preoperatively identify acetabular cartilage delamination in patients with labral tears, thereby facilitating the selection of the appropriate surgery and determining prognosis.

Level of evidence: Level II, diagnostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

MeSH terms

  • Acetabulum / diagnostic imaging
  • Acetabulum / injuries
  • Acetabulum / pathology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthrography
  • Arthroscopy
  • Cartilage, Articular / diagnostic imaging
  • Cartilage, Articular / injuries
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology*
  • Cysts / diagnostic imaging
  • Cysts / pathology*
  • Female
  • Hip Injuries / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lacerations
  • Ligaments, Articular / diagnostic imaging
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries
  • Ligaments, Articular / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Young Adult