Surgical Decision Making for Acetabular Labral Tears: An International Perspective

Paul Kenneth Herickhoff, Marc Raymond Safran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Studies comparing acetabular labral repair with debridement have generally demonstrated better clinical outcomes with repair. However, it is not clear whether hip arthroscopic surgeons agree on the indications for labral repair and debridement, bringing the generalizability of these (and future) studies into question. Purpose: To investigate surgical decision making for acetabular labral tears, with a specific focus on indications for repair or debridement, by performing an international survey of hip arthroscopic surgeons. Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: A total of 35 hip arthroscopic surgeons from around the world were invited to participate in this survey study. Surgeons selected the factors that they consider when deciding to repair or debride acetabular labral tears. For each variable selected, computerized adaptive logic prompted additional questions to better define how that variable affects decision making. Six deidentified intraoperative videos of a variety of labral tears were included to determine the level of agreement between the experts on which labral tears are repairable. Results: The survey response rate was 86%. A majority (77%) of hip arthroscopic surgeons selected the intraoperative appearance of the labrum as the most important factor affecting their decision making. Specific factors affecting surgical decision making included pattern of the labral tear (73% of surgeons), ossification of the labrum (70%), magnetic resonance imaging findings (70%), patient age (63%), activity level (57%), radiographic findings (53%), calcification of the labrum (50%), and thickness of the labrum (47%). Three intraoperative videos had ≥90% agreement for labral repair, while the other 3 had ≤76% agreement. Conclusion: The intraoperative appearance of the labrum is the most important factor affecting surgical decision making. However, different surgeons viewing the same tear arthroscopically may select different treatments. The indications to repair a torn acetabular labrum are highly variable among hip arthroscopic surgeons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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