Arthroscopic Iliopsoas Fractional Lengthening


Background: Iliopsoas fractional lengthening (IFL) is performed on patients with symptomatic internal snapping. This condition is defined as painful and sometimes audible snapping of the iliopsoas (IP) tendon over the femoral head or iliopectineal line. Arthroscopic IFL is performed if the snapping is unresponsive to conservative treatment1,2.

Description: Hip arthroscopy is performed with the patient in the supine position on a traction table. The portals used to access the joint capsule include standard anterolateral, mid-anterior, and distal anterolateral accessory (DALA) portals3. With a 70° arthroscope, diagnostic arthroscopy is conducted to assess the quality of labral tissue, acetabular and femoral cartilage surfaces, and the ligamentum teres. When indicated, supplementary procedures, such as acetabuloplasty, labral repair, or labral reconstruction4, are performed prior to IFL. With traction still applied, IFL is then performed from the central compartment at the level of the joint line. Exposure of the IP tendon is achieved with the use of a curved blade to extend the capsulotomy medially over the 3 o'clock position (right hip). Once the tendon can be appropriately visualized, a progressive and complete transverse cut is made in the tendinous portion, taking care to avoid the muscular portion. During this process, the anterolateral and mid-anterior portals serve as visualization and working portals, respectively5.

Alternatives: Prior to arthroscopic IFL for painful internal snapping, nonsurgical options6,7 may include (1) physical therapy programs, (2) activity modification, (3) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or (4) ultrasound-guided cortisone injections.

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