Comparison of Suction Seal and Contact Pressures Between 270° Labral Reconstruction, Labral Repair, and the Intact Labrum


      To biomechanically compare the suction seal, contact area, contact pressures, and peak forces of the intact native labrum, torn labrum, 12- to 3-o’clock labral repair, and 270° labral reconstruction in the hip.


      A cadaveric study was performed using 8 fresh-frozen hemipelvises with intact labra and without osteoarthritis. Intra-articular pressure maps were produced for each specimen using an electromechanical testing system under the following conditions: (1) intact labrum, (2) labral tear, (3) labral repair between the 12- and 3-o’clock positions, and (4) 270° labral reconstruction using iliotibial band allograft. Specimens were examined in neutral position, 20° of extension, and 60° of flexion. In each condition, contact pressure, contact area, and peak force were obtained. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to identify differences in biomechanical parameters among the 3 conditions. Qualitative differences in suction seal were compared between labral repair and labral reconstruction using the Fisher exact test.


      Repeated-measures analysis of variance for contact area in neutral position, extension, and flexion showed statistically significant differences between the normalized study states (P < .05). Post hoc analysis showed significantly larger contact areas measured in labral repair specimens than in labral reconstruction specimens in the extension and flexion positions. Region-of-interest analysis for the normalized contact area in the extension and flexion positions, as well as normalized contact pressures in neutral position, showed statistically significant differences between the labral states (P < .05). Finally, 8 labral repairs (100%) versus only 1 labral reconstruction (12.5%) retained the manually tested suction seal (P < .001).


      In this in vitro biomechanical model, 270° labral reconstruction resulted in decreased intra-articular contact area and loss of suction seal when compared with labral repair. Clinically, labral reconstruction may not restore the biomechanical characteristics of the native labrum as compared with labral repair.

      Clinical Relevance

      Labral reconstruction may result in lower intra-articular hip contact area and loss of suction seal, affecting the native biomechanical function of the acetabular labrum. Further biomechanical studies and clinical studies are necessary to determine whether there are any long-term consequences of 270° labral reconstruction.
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