Should the Capsule Be Repaired or Plicated After Hip Arthroscopy for Labral Tears Associated With Femoroacetabular Impingement or Instability? A Systematic Review


Purpose: To critically evaluate the existing literature on hip capsule biomechanics, clinical evidence of instability, and outcomes of capsular management to answer the following question: Should the capsule be repaired or plicated after hip arthroscopy for labral tears associated with femoroacetabular impingement or instability?

Methods: We used PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses) guidelines to find articles using PubMed and Embase. Included studies were Level I through V studies and focused on hip capsule biomechanics, postarthroscopic instability, and clinical outcomes. Articles were excluded if they discussed treatment of the hip capsule during arthroplasty, dislocations without a history of arthroscopy, and pre-existing conditions. The Methodological Index for Non-randomized Studies (MINORS) was used for quality assessment of clinical outcome studies.

Results: A total of 34 articles were included: 15 biomechanical studies, 9 instability case reports, and 10 outcome studies. There is consensus from biomechanical studies that the capsule is an important stabilizer of the hip and repairing it provides better stability than when unrepaired. Case reports of instability have raised concerns about capsular management during the index procedure to decrease the complications associated with this problem. Furthermore, outcome studies suggest that there may be an advantage of capsular closure versus capsulotomy during hip arthroscopy for nonarthritic patients.

Conclusions: Short-term outcome studies suggest that capsular closure is safe and effective in nonarthritic patients undergoing hip arthroscopic procedures and may yield superior outcomes compared with unrepaired capsulotomy. Moreover, biomechanical evidence strongly supports the role of capsular repair in maintaining stability of the hip. In patients with stiffness or inflammatory hip disorders, a release may be appropriate. In patients who have signs and symptoms of instability, there is existing evidence that capsular plication may be associated with significant improvement in patient-reported outcomes. Although the multiple procedures performed in combination with capsular treatment present confounding variables, current evidence appears to support routine capsular closure in most cases and to support capsular plication in cases of instability or borderline dysplasia.

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