Treatment of femoroacetabular impingement in athletes using a mini-direct anterior approach

Am J Sports Med. 2012 Jul;40(7):1620-7. doi: 10.1177/0363546512445883. Epub 2012 May 4.


Background: Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is an increasingly common diagnosis in active patients with hip pain. Surgical options for FAI include arthroscopy, open surgical dislocation, or mini-direct anterior approaches. Arthroscopic and open treatments of FAI have been commonly performed and have had promising results in athletes. Hypothesis/

Purpose: We hypothesized that the mini-direct anterior approach would provide the advantages of a minimally invasive procedure and still allow adequate exposure of the hip joint to successfully treat FAI in an athletic population. The purpose of this study was to determine if a mini-open approach for the treatment of FAI in athletic patients would allow a return to preoperative activity.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: A total of 234 patients (257 hips) with FAI were treated by a mini-open approach; 59 were athletic patients (66 hips) with a preoperative University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) activity score of 7 or higher or Super Simple Hip (SUSHI) activity score of 70 or greater. Forty-four of the 59 athletic patients (47 hips) have reached 1-year minimum follow-up. No patients were lost to follow-up. The mini-open approach was performed through a 4-cm incision and modified Smith-Peterson approach with no muscle detachment. All patients were prospectively evaluated using the following outcome measures: preoperative and postoperative UCLA activity, Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36), Western Ontario and McMaster Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), modified Harris Hip Score (HHS), and SUSHI scores.

Results: The average age at the time of surgery was 32 years (range, 17-60 years), with an average follow-up of 22 months. Labral changes-whether tear, detachment, or ossification-were present in all patients, and 84% had chondral lesions. The mean HHS improved from 55 preoperatively to 79 postoperatively (P < .001). The WOMAC scores also improved from 47.9 to 8.3 (P < .001). Mean SF-36 scores improved from 65 to 85 postoperatively (P < .001). The mean preoperative SUSHI general score was 31.1, pain score was 26.6, and limitation score was 28.9. The mean postoperative SUSHI general score was 53.6, pain score was 47.5, and limitation score was 51.6 (P < .001). There was minimal change from preinjury to postoperative UCLA (8.0 to 8.7, respectively; P = .07) or SUSHI activity scores (76.3 to 67.7, respectively; P = .048), indicating a reliable return to preinjury activity levels. Twenty-four of 44 patients (55%) reported a return to their specific preoperative sports. Nine patients (20%) developed meralgia paresthetica postoperatively, which resolved within 1 year.

Conclusion: The mini-open approach for the treatment of FAI is a safe and effective procedure that allows surgical treatment of FAI in athletic patients and a successful return to high activity levels. The outcome of the mini-open approach for athletes may be comparable with open and arthroscopic treatment of FAI.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / complications
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery*
  • Cartilage, Articular / surgery
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / complications
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / diagnostic imaging
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / surgery*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hip Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Hip Joint / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Radiography
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult