Arthroscopic debridement versus refixation of the acetabular labrum associated with femoroacetabular impingement: mean 3.5-year follow-up

Am J Sports Med. 2012 May;40(5):1015-21. doi: 10.1177/0363546511434578. Epub 2012 Feb 3.


Background: The acetabular labrum provides a sealing function and a degree of hip joint stability. Limited, short-term follow-up studies suggest that labral refixation/preservation leads to superior outcomes compared with labral debridement/excision.

Purpose: To compare the results of labral refixation versus focal labral excision/debridement in a cohort of patients who underwent arthroscopic correction of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI).

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: We reported on patients who underwent labral debridement/focal labral excision during a period before the development of labral repair techniques. Patients with labral tears thought to be repairable with our current arthroscopic technique were compared with a cohort of patients who underwent labral refixation. To better match the 2 groups, only patients with labral pincer- or combined-type FAI were included. In the first 44 hips, the labrum was focally excised/debrided (group 1); in the next 50 hips, the labrum was refixed (group 2). Outcomes were measured with the modified Harris Hip Score (HHS), Short Form 12 (SF-12), and a visual analog scale (VAS) for pain preoperatively and postoperatively. Preoperative and postoperative radiographs were obtained to evaluate bony resection.

Results: The mean age was 32 years in group 1 and 28 years in group 2 with a mean follow-up of 42 months (range, 24-72 months). Preoperative mean subjective outcome scores were not significantly different between groups. At a mean 3.5 years' follow-up, subjective outcomes were significantly improved (P < .01) for both groups compared with preoperative scores. The HHS (P = .001), SF-12 (P = .041), and VAS pain scores (P = .004) were all significantly better for the refixation group compared with the debridement group at the most recent follow-up. At a mean 3.5 years' follow-up, good to excellent results were noted in 68% of the focal excision/debridement group and 92% of the refixation group (P = .004).

Conclusion: Although other factors may have influenced these results, labral refixation compared with an earlier cohort of focal labral excision/debridement resulted in better HHS, SF-12, and VAS pain outcomes and a greater percentage of good to excellent results at a mean 3.5-year follow-up.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acetabulum
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Cartilage, Articular / injuries*
  • Cartilage, Articular / surgery
  • Cohort Studies
  • Debridement*
  • Female
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / complications
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / surgery*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hip Injuries / etiology
  • Hip Injuries / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult