Arthroscopic Debridement Versus Refixation of the Acetabular Labrum Associated With Femoroacetabular Impingement: Updated Mean 7-Year Follow-up

Am J Sports Med. 2022 Mar;50(3):731-738. doi: 10.1177/03635465211067818. Epub 2022 Jan 31.


Background: Short- and midterm follow-up studies suggest that arthroscopic labral refixation/preservation leads to superior outcomes compared with labral excision/debridement.

Purpose: To update the previous early (16 months) and midterm (mean, 42 months) follow-up of this cohort, which reported better patient-reported outcome measures and lower failure rates in the repair/refixation group.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: The authors identified patients who underwent labral debridement/focal labral excision during a period before the development of labral repair techniques. A consecutive group of patients within the labral debridement group thought to be repairable with the authors' current arthroscopic techniques were compared with a group of consecutive patients who underwent labral repair/refixation. In 46 hips, the labrum was focally excised/debrided consistent with pincer- or combined pincer- and cam-type impingement; in 54 hips, the labrum was repaired/refixed. Subjective outcomes were measured with the modified Harris Hip Score (mHHS), 12-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12), and visual analog scale (VAS) for pain preoperatively and postoperatively.

Results: The mean age was 34.0 years in the debridement group and 28.3 years in the repair/refixation group, with a mean follow-up of 7.3 years (range, 2-13.6 years). At the mean follow-up of 7.3 years, subjective outcomes were significantly improved (P < .01) for both groups compared with preoperative scores. The mHHS (P = .008), SF-12 score (P = .012), and VAS pain score (P = .002) were all significantly better for the repair/refixation group compared with the debridement group. Although most recent outcomes for both groups fell slightly at the mean follow-up of 7.3 years in comparison with the 16-month and 3.5-year follow-ups, these differences were not significant. However, the failure rate in the debridement group did get significantly worse (P = .014). Good to excellent results were 47.7% in the debridement group and 86.3% in the refixation group (P < .001), and failure rates were 30.4% (debridement) and 13% (refixation) (P = .033). There were 4 revisions in the debridement group and 3 revisions in the refixation group.

Conclusion: Longer term, >7-year follow-up comparing focal labral excision/debridement with repair/refixation revealed better patient-reported outcomes and lower failure rates in the labral repair/refixation cohort. Additionally, despite an absolute decrease in patient-related outcome scoring and number of good/excellent results in both groups compared with the 3.5-year report, there was a significantly greater increase in failure rates over time for the excision/debridement group with better maintenance of good to excellent results in the repair/refixation group.

Keywords: femoroacetabular impingement; hip; hip arthroscopy; hip labral tears; labral debridement; labral repair.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy / methods
  • Cohort Studies
  • Debridement / methods
  • Femoracetabular Impingement* / complications
  • Femoracetabular Impingement* / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hip Joint / surgery
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome