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01.11.2010 | Case Report | Ausgabe 11/2010

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® 11/2010

Case Report: Osteonecrosis of the Femoral Head after Hip Arthroscopy

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® > Ausgabe 11/2010
MD Danielle L. Scher, MD Philip J. Belmont Jr, MD Brett D. Owens
Wichtige Hinweise
Each author certifies that he or she has no commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the reporting of this case report, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.
The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Department of Defense or United States government.
This work was performed at William Beaumont Army Medical Center.



Hip arthroscopy is a common orthopaedic procedure used as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool with a multitude of surgical indications. The complication rate is reportedly between 1.3% and 23.3%. Major complications are related to traction, fluid extravasation, and iatrogenic chondral injury. Although osteonecrosis is a concern with any surgical procedure about the hip, this complication has been primarily a theoretical concern with hip arthroscopy.

Case Description

We report the case of a 24-year-old man who presented with a 2-year history of left hip pain. He underwent hip arthroscopy to include débridement of a torn labrum and removal of a prominent pincer lesion for femoroacetabular impingement. Traction was initiated by applying manual traction to the traction bar until 10 mm of joint distraction was obtained. Traction was removed at 90 minutes. At the 3-month followup, MRI showed osteonecrosis in the subcapital region of the left femoral head.

Literature Review

It generally is agreed the magnitude and duration of traction during hip arthroscopy increase the risk of traction-related injuries. Only one previous case of femoral head osteonecrosis associated with hip arthroscopy has been reported, and this may have resulted from the initial traumatic event. Based on anatomic studies, the use of standard arthroscopic portals would not put at risk any dominant normal vascular structures supplying the femoral head. In contrast, the literature shows that femoral head osteonecrosis may develop secondary to a combination of increased intraarticular pressure and traction.

Purposes and Clinical Relevance

We suspect this case of femoral head osteonecrosis after hip arthroscopy was caused by traction used in the procedure.

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