The Inverse Relationship Between Labral Size and Acetabular Coverage: Does It Protect the Cartilage in the Dysplastic Hip?


Purpose: The aims of this study were to confirm the relationship between osseous coverage and labral size and to investigate the severity of intra-articular damage in borderline dysplastic hips in correlation to labral size.

Methods: Patients treated with primary hip arthroscopy for symptomatic labral tears between 2010 and 2018 were considered for this study. Patients were included if they had preoperative radiographic measures and intraoperative assessments of the labra and cartilage. The study group was divided into borderline dysplastic and nondysplastic groups via 3 measurements: lateral center edge angle (LCEA), acetabular index (Ax), and anterior center edge angle (ACEA). Undercoverage was defined as LCEA ≤ 25°, Ax ≥ 10°, and ACEA ≤ 20°. The labrum was measured in four quadrants: anterosuperior (AS), anteroinferior (AI), posterosuperior (PS), and posteroinferior (PI). Additionally, to assess cartilage damage in borderline dysplastic hips, hips with average labral size in the top quartile were compared to hips with average labral size in the bottom quartile.

Results: A total of 1765 hips (1589 patients) were included in the study. The mean LCEA, Ax, and ACEA between the borderline dysplastic and nondysplastic groups were significantly different (P < .001). According to the Ax classification, there was significant evidence that borderline dysplastic hips had larger labra (P < .05). Among the dysplastic group, there was significantly more cartilage damage according to the Outerbridge classifications along both the acetabulum and femoral head in hips with labra in the upper quartile (P =.011 and .005, respectively).

Conclusion: An inverse relationship may exist between acetabular depth and labral size. Additionally, specifically in borderline dysplastic hips, a relatively large labrum correlates with worse intra-articular damage compared to borderline dysplastic hips with a relatively small labrum. Larger labral size may indicate a higher degree of instability in patients with borderline dysplasia.

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