Introduction: Various surgical treatment options have been described in athletes with degenerative osteitis pubis who fail to respond to conservative treatment modalities. Although adductor longus tendinopathy often represents an additional pain generator in chronic groin pain associated with osteitis pubis, this has not been acknowledged in the surgical literature, to our knowledge. We present the results of a novel surgical technique for combined degenerative lesions of the pubic symphysis joint and the adjacent adductor longus tendon in a series of athletes with osteitis pubis.
Methods: During 2009 and 2010, five competitive non-professional soccer players with considerable groin and pubic pain were referred to our clinic, after conservative therapy over a period of at least 12 months had failed. According to our clinical protocol for patients with groin pain, physical examination, pelvic radiographs and arthrography of the pubic symphysis to detect microlesions of the adjacent adductor longus tendons were performed. The patients diagnosed with degenerative osteitis pubis and concomitant lesion of the adductor longus origin were indicated for surgery. Surgery consisted of resection of the degenerative soft and bone tissue and subsequent reattachment with suture anchors. With regard to stability of the symphysis pubis, a two-portal arthroscopic curettage of the degenerative fibrocartilaginous disc tissue was performed. The patients were followed prospectively at medium term with assessment of general pain level (VAS score) and sport activity with pain (NIPPS score) pre- and postoperatively.
Results: All patients recovered to full activity sports after an average period of 14.4 weeks. VAS and NIPPS scores markedly improved and overall satisfaction with the postoperative result was high. One intraoperative bleeding occurred, needing revision surgery. None of the patients developed pubic instability due to pubic symphysis curettage in the sequel.
Conclusions: This novel surgical technique combines successfully stability-preserving arthroscopic pubic symphysis curettage with adductor debridement and reattachment in well-selected cases of athletes suffering from degenerative osteitis pubis and concomitant adductor pathology, being refractory to conservative treatment. Diligent preoperative evaluation of the specific pathology will lead to successful outcome.