Prem N. Ramkumar, MD, MBA, Reena J. Olsen, BS, Bryan T. Kelly, MD, Hashim J.F. Shaikh, BS, Danyal H. Nawabi, MD



Little is known about the effect of modern hip arthroscopy on the natural history of femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (FAIS) with respect to joint preservation.


To (1) characterize the natural history of FAIS and (2) understand the effect of modern hip arthroscopy by radiographically comparing the hips of patients who underwent only unilateral primary hip arthroscopy with a minimum follow-up of 10 years.

Study Design:

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.


Between 2010 and 2012, 619 consecutive patients were reviewed from the practice of a single fellowship-trained hip arthroscopic surgeon. Inclusion criteria were FAIS, bilateral radiographic findings of femoroacetabular impingement, primary unilateral hip arthroscopy (labral repair, femoroplasty, or capsular closure), and minimum 10-year follow-up. The preoperative and minimum 10-year postoperative radiographs of patients were evaluated at each time point. Both operative and nonoperative hips were graded using the Tönnis classification or the presence of hip arthroplasty by 2 independent reviewers. Subgroup analyses were performed.


A total of 200 hips from 100 patients were evaluated at a mean follow-up of 12.0 years. Preoperatively, 98% and 99% of operative and nonoperative hips were evaluated as Tönnis grades 0 and 1, respectively; 5% of nonoperative hips had worse Tönnis grades than operative hips. The nonoperative hip advanced to a worse Tönnis grade in 48% (48/100) of cases compared with 28% (28/100) among operative hips. At follow-up, Tönnis grades between hips were equal in 70% (70/100) of the cases, the operative hip had a better grade 25% (25/100) of the time, and the nonoperative hip had a better grade 5% (5/100) of the time. Modern hip arthroscopy was associated with a relative risk reduction of 42% in osteoarthritis progression. Impingement with borderline dysplasia, age, preoperative Tönnis grade, and alpha angle >65° were key risk factors in the radiographic progression of osteoarthritis.


Although the majority of patients (70%) undergoing hip arthroscopy for FAIS did not experience differences between operative and nonoperative hips in terms of the radiographic progression of osteoarthritis, the natural history may be favorably altered for 25% of patients whose Tönnis grade was better after undergoing arthroscopic correction. Modern hip arthroscopy indications and techniques represent a valid joint-preservation procedure conferring a relative risk reduction of 42% in the progression of osteoarthritis. Arthroscopy for mixed patterns of impingement and instability were the fastest to degenerate.


View Study:  Modern Hip Arthroscopy for FAIS May Delay the Natural History of Osteoarthritis in 25% of Patients: A 12-Year Follow-up Analysis