The hip joint is a ball and socket joint formed by the upper rounded end or head of the femur (thigh bone) that articulates with a cavity in the pelvic bones called the acetabulum. The smooth surface of the femoral head and acetabulum allows smooth movement of the hip joint. Overuse or developmental abnormalities can cause a condition called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), where irregular overgrowths of bone occur on the femoral head and/or acetabulum. These bumpy, bony overgrowths can damage the cartilage and tissue that border the articulating surfaces, resulting in pain and limitation of movement.
FAI is treated with surgery when conservative treatment fails to relieve the symptoms. Surgery involves reshaping the femoral head (femoroplasty) or the acetabulum (acetabuloplasty). It is usually performed by a minimally invasive technique called arthroscopy, in which a viewing tube and miniature instruments are inserted into small incisions to reach the operative site. Bony irregularities on the femoral head are cut and removed. Over-coverage of the acetabulum is identified and corrected. The femoral head is re-shaped and the neck of the femur just below the head may be re-contoured to facilitate normal movement. Any tissue damage is additionally repaired.
Following femoroacetabular impingement surgery, you may go home the same day or after a night’s stay. You will be advised to use crutches for a period of 3-8 weeks depending on your condition. A brace may be placed to protect your hip while healing. Physical therapy is usually recommended immediately following surgery to improve movement and strength.
Since femoroacetabular impingement surgery is performed arthroscopically, complications are rare, but may include nerve damage, bleeding, femoral neck fracture, over- or under-resection of the abnormalities, and bone deposition in soft tissue.