Do Larger Acetabular Chondral Defects Portend Inferior Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Arthroscopic Acetabular Microfracture? A Matched-Controlled Study


      To elucidate the effect, if any, of acetabular chondral defect size on surgical outcomes after arthroscopic microfracture was performed with concomitant treatment for labral tears and femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) syndrome.


      The study period was between February 2008 and November 2014. Data were collected on patients who underwent hip arthroscopy. The inclusion criteria were acetabular microfracture; concomitant treatment for labral tears and FAI syndrome; and preoperative modified Harris Hip Score, Nonarthritic Hip Score, Hip Outcome Score–Sports Specific Subscale, and visual analog scale. Exclusion criteria were Workers' Compensation, preoperative Tönnis grade >1, or previous ipsilateral hip surgeries or conditions. Patients were grouped based on smaller chondral defects (SCDs) or larger chondral defects (LCDs), then matched 1:1 by age at surgery ±10 years, sex, body mass index ±5, labral treatment, capsular treatment, acetabuloplasty, and femoroplasty. Outcomes, secondary arthroscopies, and conversions to total hip arthroplasty (THA) were documented.


      Of 131 eligible cases, 107 (81.7%) had minimum 2-year follow-up. Before matching, the conversion rate to THA was higher for LCDs (24.6%) than for SCDs (12.0%). Thirty-five patients were matched for each group. Mean follow-up time was 47.9 months (range, 24.0, 84.1) for the matched LCD group and 46.1 months (range, 24.0, 88.1) for the matched SCD group. Ligamentum teres debridement (P = .03) was performed more frequently in the LCD group. No other differences were found regarding demographics, intraoperative findings, procedures, traction time, preoperative scores, or follow-up scores. Both groups demonstrated significant improvements in all scores. Rates of revision or conversion to THA were similar between groups. The relative risk for conversion to THA was 2.33 for patients with defects ≥300 mm2 compared with patients with defects ≤250 mm2 (P = .13). Deep vein thrombosis occurred in 3 (5.3%) patients with LCDs.


      Matched patients with either SCDs or LCDs undergoing arthroscopic acetabular microfracture with concomitant treatment for labral tears and FAI syndrome demonstrated similar improvements at minimum 2-year follow-up. Patients with chondral defects approaching 300 mm2 or greater may have a higher propensity toward conversion to THA.

      Level of Evidence

      Level III, retrospective comparative therapeutic trial.
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      Linked Article

      • Editorial Commentary: Haven't We Seen This Somewhere Before? Laying the Foundation for Cartilage Restoration in Hip Preservation
        ArthroscopyVol. 35Issue 7
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          Since its inception in the early 1980s, the microfracture procedure has been successfully used throughout the body to treat isolated full-thickness cartilage lesions. Although treatment of such injuries can be challenging, and outcomes variable, microfracture has afforded surgeons the ability to treat cartilage lesions in a single-stage fashion at the time of treatment for concomitant injuries. Whereas most research relating to the use of microfracture has focused on managing lesions in the knee, there continues to be interest in applying the same principles in other regions of the body.
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