A minimally disruptive surgical technique for the treatment of osteitis pubis in athletes

Sports Health. 2010 May;2(3):211-5. doi: 10.1177/1941738110366203.


Background: MULTIPLE SURGICAL PROCEDURES EXIST FOR THE TREATMENT OF OSTEITIS PUBIS: curettage of the symphysis joint, wedge resection, complete resection of the joint, placement of extraperitoneal retropubic synthetic mesh, and arthrodesis of the joint. However, a paucity of literature has reported long-term successful outcomes with the aforementioned approaches. Patients treated operatively have reported recalcitrant pain resulting from iatrogenic instability. The article presents the results of a conservative operative technique that avoids disruption of adjacent ligaments.

Hypothesis: Preserving the adjacent ligamentous structures will allow competitive athletes to return to competition and activities of daily living free of iatrogenic pelvic instability and pain.

Study design: Case series.

Methods: Four competitive athletes (2 professional and 2 collegiate football players) diagnosed with osteitis pubis were treated conservatively for a minimum of 6 months. Patients underwent surgical intervention upon failure to respond to nonoperative management. The degenerative tissue was resected, allowing only bleeding cancellous bone to remain while preserving the adjacent ligaments. An arthroscope was used to assist in curettage, allowing the debridement to be performed through a small incision in the anterior capsule.

Results: The symptoms of all 4 patients resolved, and they returned to competitive athletics. This ligament-sparing technique provided a solid, stable repair and pain relief.

Conclusion: This surgical technique preserves the adjacent ligamentous structures and allows competitive athletes to return to competition and activities of daily living free of pain and void of pelvic instability.

Clinical relevance: This technique is a surgical treatment option for athletes with osteitis pubis who fail conservative treatment.

Keywords: athletes; osteitis pubis; pelvic instability; pelvic pain; symphysis pubis pain.