Quantitative Assessment of Femoral Head Perfusion Following Arthroscopic Femoral Osteochondroplasty: A Cadaveric Study

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Disruption of the arterial supply to the femoral head, and subsequent development of femoral head osteonecrosis, is of serious concern with intracapsular hip procedures. However, the effect of arthroscopic femoral osteochondroplasty on femoral head perfusion is unknown. We aimed to quantify the effects of both standard and posterosuperior extension of arthroscopic femoral osteochondroplasty on femoral head vascularity. We hypothesized that extension of the superior resection zone posteriorly would negatively affect femoral head perfusion.


In 12 cadaveric pelvic specimens, we cannulated the medial femoral circumflex artery (MFCA). One hip per pelvis was randomly selected to be in 1 of 2 experimental groups based on the superior extent of the osteochondroplasty: standard resection (resection anterior to the 12 o’clock [0° of 360°] position) or extended resection (resection extended posterior to the 12 o’clock position). Computed tomography (CT) scans were obtained prior to and following arthroscopic resection to delineate the resection margins. Gadolinium enhancement on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was quantified in the femoral head by volumetric analysis using custom software. A polyurethane compound was injected and gross dissection of the vasculature was performed.


Extension of the osteochondroplasty posteriorly (the extended-resection group), to a mean of 41.3° (range, 34° to 47°) posterior to the 12 o’clock position, decreased femoral head perfusion by a mean of 28% (range, 18% to 38%). The standard-resection group demonstrated a mean decrease in femoral head perfusion of 7% (range, 4% to 11%). Correlation analysis demonstrated a significant negative correlation (correlation coefficient, −0.877; p < 0.001; R2 = 0.747). For every 1° that the superior resection margin extended posteriorly, a corresponding 0.88% decrease in femoral head perfusion was found.


Femoral head perfusion is almost fully maintained with arthroscopic osteochondroplasty when the superior resection margin is anterior to the 12 o’clock position. Perfusion is also well maintained if the superior resection margin is extended no more than 10° posterior to 12 o’clock. Further posterior extension correlated with greater decreases in femoral head perfusion.

Clinical Relevance:

Our study provides previously unreported quantitative MRI data on femoral head perfusion following arthroscopic femoral osteochondroplasty for the treatment of cam-type femoroacetabular impingement.

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