Hip Arthroscopy for Femoroacetabular Impingement in a Military Population

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Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) can lead to hip pain and early joint degeneration. There have been few reports to date on the outcomes of hip arthroscopy for the treatment of FAI in the military population.


The purpose of this study was to compare patient demographics with postoperative outcomes after hip arthroscopy for symptomatic FAI and to identify preoperative risk factors for poor outcomes. The hypothesis was that certain preoperative patient characteristics will be predictive of poorer outcomes and that lower outcomes scores will be associated with a higher likelihood of medical separation from the military.

Study Design:

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.


Retrospective chart review of active-duty and dependent patients older than 18 years who underwent hip arthroscopy for symptomatic FAI from 2009 to 2014 at a single institution.


A total of 469 (309 males and 160 females) surgeries were performed on 456 active-duty personnel and 13 dependent civilians, with a mean 2.5-year follow-up. Overall, 39% (n = 179) were able to return to duty (RTD), 18% (n = 82) were medically cleared to return to normal daily activities but did not remain on active duty, and 43% (n = 195) required referral to the Disability Evaluation System (DES). Increasing rank and male sex were positive predictors and Axis 1 psychiatric diagnosis, revision surgery, concomitant psoas tenotomy, multiple medical comorbidities, and complaints of generalized pelvic pain were negative predictors for returning to duty. US Marine Infantry and Special Forces showed improved RTD rates (50%-86%) compared with administrative, more sedentary, occupations (22%). On average, Single Alpha Numeric Evaluation (SANE) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores improved after surgery, with SANE scores improving 37 ± 28 points and VAS scores improving 2.6 ± 2.5 points. The mean postoperative SANE and VAS scores differed significantly between the RTD group and those not returning to duty; 87 and 1.2 points compared with 69 and 3.6 points, respectively (P < .0001).


Hip arthroscopy for the treatment of symptomatic FAI effectively improves pain symptoms and self-reported overall function but shows a much lower than expected return to full, unrestricted active duty in the general active-duty military population. Underlying psychiatric diagnoses, female sex, and more sedentary occupations are associated with lower RTD rates. Furthermore, lower postoperative SANE and VAS scores are associated with lower RTD rates. Only the more active and elite components of the military study population showed RTD rates consistent with previously reported outcomes of return to competitive sports after hip arthroscopy for FAI.

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