Pie-Crusting Capsulotomy Provides Similar Visualization With Increased Repair Stiffness Compared With a T-Capsulotomy: A Biomechanical Study


      To compare the area of visualization, capsular stiffness, and strength between the pie-crusting capsulotomy technique and the T-capsulotomy technique following repair.


      Eight matched pairs of fresh-frozen cadaveric hips (n = 16) were divided to either T-capsulotomy or pie-crusting capsulotomy followed by subsequent repair. The area of visualization was measured for all capsulotomy states using a digitizing probe. Hips were then distracted along the iliofemoral ligament in the intact, extended capsulotomy, and repair states. Afterwards, specimens were externally rotated to failure.


      An average force of 250.1 ± 16.1 N was required to distract intact hips to 6 mm. Both extended capsulotomy techniques reduced the force required to distract the hip 6 mm with no statistical difference between the two (T-capsulotomy [T-cap] = 114.3 ± 63.4 N vs pie-capsulotomy [Pie-cap] = 170.1 ± 38.8 N), P = .07. Subsequent repair of the extended capsulotomies demonstrated the pie-crust capsulotomy required significantly greater force to reach 6 mm of distraction than those with a repaired T-capsulotomy (T-cap = 165.04 ± 40.43N vs Pie-cap = 204.43 ± 10.13N), P = .03. There was no significant difference in ultimate torque to failure between the 2 techniques (T-cap = 22.0 ± 7.41 N·m vs Pie-cap = 27.01 ± 11.13 N·m), P = .28. Visualization significantly increased with each extended capsulotomy, with an average increase of 62% (P < .001) and 48% (P < .001) for the pie- and T-capsulotomies, respectively.


      The pie-crusting technique maintained similar strength and increased stiffness to the T-capsulotomy following repair while using less suture. Both techniques provided similar visualization. Clinically, the pie-crusting technique provides an alternative to the T-capsulotomy with similar biomechanical and visual outcomes.

      Clinical Relevance

      Visualization during hip arthroscopy can be difficult with large cam morphology. Techniques to improve visualization while restoring the native biomechanics of the hip as best as possible are important.
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