J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 18, No 6, June 2010
Marc R. Safran, MD The past decade has seen unprecedented growth in the number of hip arthroscopies. Acetabular labral tears are the leading indication for arthroscopy of this joint. However, labral anatomy and function, as well as the effects of labral tears and surgical outcomes, have only recently been studied. Labral tears may cause pain and microinstability of the hip joint. They also may increase friction within the joint, cartilage consolidation, and strain within the articular cartilage, thereby possibly resulting in accelerated degeneration of the joint. Partial labrectomy and labral repair are the current surgical options, and basic science data suggest that labral repairs can heal and subsequently restore function. However, a good, validated outcomes measure to adequately assess active patients with a painful nonarthritic hip is needed to determine the efficacy of such repair and aid in managing patient expectations.