Elite Female Athletes Demonstrate a Comparable Improvement in Midterm Patient-Reported Outcome Scores and Rate of Return to Sport Compared With Elite Male Athletes After Hip Arthroscopic Surgery: A Sex-Based Comparison in Professional and Collegiate Athletes


Background:  Few studies have compared outcomes, return to sport (RTS), and continuation of sport (CTS) after primary hip arthroscopic surgery between matched groups of male and female athletes with a minimum 5-year follow-up.

Purpose: (1) To report minimum 5-year patient-reported outcome (PRO) scores as well as RTS and CTS rates for elite female athletes undergoing hip arthroscopic surgery for femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (FAIS) and (2) to compare clinical results with those of a matched control group of elite male athletes.

Methods: Data were prospectively collected and retrospectively reviewed for elite (collegiate or professional) female athletes who underwent primary hip arthroscopic surgery for FAIS between March 2009 and March 2016. Inclusion criteria were preoperative and minimum 5-year scores for the modified Harris Hip Score, Nonarthritic Hip Score, Hip Outcome Score-Sport Specific Subscale, and visual analog scale for pain. Exclusion criteria were Tönnis grade >1, hip dysplasia, previous ipsilateral hip surgery/conditions, and those unwilling to participate. Rates of achieving the minimal clinically important difference (MCID), Patient Acceptable Symptom State (PASS), and maximum outcome improvement satisfaction threshold (MOIST) were recorded in addition to RTS. CTS was also recorded and defined as athletes reporting continued sport activity at a minimum 5-year follow-up after initially reporting returning to sport. Elite female athletes were propensity matched in a 1:1 ratio to elite male athletes for comparison.

Results: A total of 81 hips in elite female athletes that underwent primary hip arthroscopic surgery met the inclusion criteria, and follow-up was available for 65 hips (80.2%) at a mean of 67.6 ± 6.5 months, with a mean age of 24.3 ± 6.8 years. Female athletes demonstrated significant improvements in all recorded PRO scores; achieved the MCID, PASS, and MOIST at high rates; returned to sport at a rate of 80.4%; and continued sport at a rate of 97.1%. Female athletes demonstrated lower preoperative PRO scores compared with male athletes, but postoperative PRO scores; improvements in scores; rates of achieving the MCID, PASS, MOIST; and RTS and CTS rates were similar between female and male athletes.

Conclusions: Elite female athletes undergoing primary hip arthroscopic surgery for FAIS demonstrated favorable PRO scores and high RTS and CTS rates at a minimum 5-year follow-up. These results were comparable with those of a propensity-matched control group of elite male athletes.

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