Arthroscopic Bursectomy With Concomitant Iliotibial Band Release for the Treatment of Recalcitrant Trochanteric Bursitis

Published:January 26, 2007DOI:


      Trochanteric bursitis with lateral hip pain is a commonly encountered orthopaedic condition. Although most patients respond to corticosteroid injections, rest, physical therapy (PT), stretching, and anti-inflammatory medications, those with recalcitrant symptoms may require operative intervention. Studies have explored the use of the arthroscope in the treatment of these patients. However, these reports have not addressed the underlying pathology in this chronic condition. We believe that the iliotibial band must be addressed and is the main cause of pain, inflammation, and trochanteric impingement leading to the development of bursitis. We report a new technique for arthroscopic trochanteric bursectomy with iliotibial band release. Our technique involves 2 incisions—one 4 cm proximal to the greater trochanter along the anterior border of the iliotibial band, and the other 4 cm distal and along the posterior border. The 30° arthroscope is introduced through the inferior portal, and a cannula is introduced through the superior portal. A 5.5-mm arthroscopic shaver is inserted through the superior cannula to clear off the surface of the iliotibial band, so that it may be adequately visualized. A hooked electrocautery probe is then used to longitudinally incise the iliotibial band until it no longer rubs, causing impingement over the greater trochanter.

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