MRI Evaluation of Repaired Versus Unrepaired Interportal Capsulotomy in Simultaneous Bilateral Hip Arthroscopy: A Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background:

Techniques used in hip arthroscopy continue to evolve, and controversy surrounds the need for capsular repair following this surgical intervention. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) appearance of the hip capsule in patients with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) who underwent simultaneous bilateral hip arthroscopy through an interportal capsulotomy with each hip randomized to undergo capsular repair or not undergo such a repair.

Methods:

This double-blind, randomized controlled trial included 15 patients (30 hips), with a mean age of 29.2 years, who underwent simultaneous bilateral hip arthroscopy utilizing a small (<3-cm) interportal capsulotomy for the treatment of FAI. The first hip treated in each patient was intraoperatively randomized to undergo capsular repair or no capsular repair. The contralateral hip then received the opposite treatment. MRI was performed at 6 and 24 weeks postoperatively, and the scans were analyzed by 2 musculoskeletal radiologists. The patients and the radiologists were blinded to the treatment performed on each hip. Capsular dimensions were measured at the level of the healing capsulotomy site and, for hips with a persistent defect, at locations both proximal and distal to the defect. These values were then analyzed at both time points to assess the rate and extent of capsular healing.

Results:

At 6 weeks postoperatively, a continuous hip capsule (with no apparent capsulotomy defect) was observed in 8 hips treated with capsular repair and 3 hips without such a repair. Of the 19 hips with a discontinuous capsule at 6 weeks, 17 were available for follow-up at 24 weeks postoperatively; all 17 demonstrated progression to healing, with a contiguous appearance without defects and no difference in capsular dimensions between treatment cohorts.

Conclusions:

Arthroscopic repair of a small interportal hip capsulotomy site yields an insignificant increase in the percentage of continuous hip capsules seen on MRI at 6 weeks postoperatively compared with no repair. Repaired and unrepaired capsulotomy sites progressed to healing with a contiguous appearance on MRI by 24 weeks postoperatively.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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