Caution Should be Taken in Performing Surgical Hip Dislocation for the Treatment of Femoroacetabular Impingement in Patients Over the Age of 40

HSS J. 2012 Oct;8(3):230-4. doi: 10.1007/s11420-012-9306-8. Epub 2012 Sep 19.


Background: Open and arthroscopic procedures are treatment options for patients with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). Age has been found to be a predictive factor in the outcome of patients undergoing periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) for hip dysplasia. It is unclear if older age contraindicates joint preservation through a surgical hip dislocation (SHD).

Questions/purpose: The purpose of this retrospective case series was to evaluate the short-term outcomes of patients over 40 years of age without radiographic evidence of end-stage arthritis who underwent SHD for the treatment of FAI and to determine whether older age should be a contraindication for joint-preserving procedures in these patients. Our specific aims included (1) documenting the intraoperative findings and procedures, (2) assessing pain relief provided, and (3) assessing treatment failures and postoperative complications, noting the number of patients that ultimately required total hip arthroplasty (THA).

Patients and methods: All patients at age 40 and older who had SHD for the treatment of FAI were identified from a series of patients treated with SHD. Clinical notes, radiographs, and operative reports were reviewed to determine clinical results, complications, and the need for additional procedures. The minimum follow-up was 1 year (mean 3.9 years; range 1-8 years).

Results: At final follow-up, 11/22 (50%) of hips had pain relief, while 11/22 (50%) either continued having significant symptoms or required THA. Five (23%) reported nontrochanteric pain symptoms that were the same or worse than before surgery, and six hips (27%) underwent subsequent THA). The average time between SHD and THA was 1.9 years (0.9-6.2). The average age of patients who went on to require THA was 45 (42-50) years.

Conclusions: Surgical hip dislocation can be used for the treatment of FAI in patients over age 40, but strict selection criteria should be adhered to, as only half of the patients experienced significant improvement in their hip pain. THA was required in one-third of hips for continued pain and radiographic progression of arthritis. SHD for treatment of pathology that is not amenable to hip arthroscopy should remain a surgical option in older patients with FAI only if joint degeneration is not present.

Keywords: femoracetabular impingement; hip offset; joint preservation; surgical hip dislocation.