Purpose: This systematic review explored reported outcomes addressing femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), specifically those comparing labral debridement to labral repair. In addition, the quality of the evidence was evaluated for the purposes of making treatment recommendations.
Methods: Three databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PubMed) were searched for comparative studies involving labral repair and debridement during FAI surgery. Two reviewers conducted a title, abstract, and full-text review of eligible studies and the references of these studies. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to the searched studies, data were extracted, and a quality assessment was completed for included studies.
Results: Six eligible studies involving 490 patients were identified. The most commonly reported outcome measure was the modified Harris hip score (MHHS) (50 %). All studies reported that labral repair had greater postoperative improvements in functional scores (modified Harris hip, non-arthritic hip, hip outcome, and Merle d'Aubigne scores) compared to labral debridement. Five studies reported statistically significant improvements with labral repair. MHHS were pooled to demonstrate a clinically important difference in favor of labral repair by 7.4 points in three studies. The mean individual study quality can be considered fair. However, the overall quality of the body of evidence in this review is rated as low according to GRADE guidelines.
Conclusions: This review demonstrates a reporting of better clinical outcomes with labral repair compared to labral debridement in all studies with five of six studies reporting statistically significant improvements (of repair over debridement). However, given the lack of high quality evidence and associated limitations in study design, these results should be interpreted with caution. Consequently, definitive treatment recommendations require further investigation with well-conducted clinical trials. This systematic review enables the discussion of best evidence practice for the surgical managing of a labral tear associated with FAI.
Level of evidence: III.