BACKGROUND: Arthroscopic osteochondroplasty may improve range of motion and relieve pain in patients with symptomatic hip impingement. Femoral neck fracture is a risk of this procedure because of the weakening of the proximal femur. To our knowledge, there are no biomechanical studies in young human cadaveric bone evaluating the effect of osteochondroplasty on femoral neck strength.PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The purpose was to evaluate loads to fracture in young human cadavers after resection depths of 25% and 40% at the head-neck junction. We hypothesized that both depths will maintain ultimate loads to failure above previously published loads, as well as above physiologic weightbearing loads.STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive laboratory study.METHODS: Cadaveric proximal femoral specimens (6 matched pairs, under the age of 47 years) were divided into 2 groups: 25% or 40% of the diameter at the head-neck junction was resected. The length of the resection was 2 cm and the width of the resection was determined by the length of the anterolateral quadrant at the head-neck junction in all cases. A compressive load was applied directly to the femoral head. Peak load, stiffness, and energy to fracture were compared between groups.RESULTS: The average peak load to fracture after 25% resection (7347 N) was significantly higher than after the 40% resection (5892 N) (P = .010). The average energy to fracture was also significantly higher in the 25% resection group (30.2 J vs 19.2 J; P = .007). The average stiffness was higher in the 25% group, although not statistically significant (P = .737).CONCLUSION: Resection depths of 25% and 40% at the anterolateral quadrant of the femoral head-neck junction may be safe at previously described functional loads such as standing and walking in the age range more typically seen in patients undergoing hip arthroscopy. Loads to fracture were significantly higher than previously reported using older cadaveric specimens.CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Currently, most surgeons limit weightbearing after femoral osteochondroplasty in part because of risk of femoral neck fracture. Given the higher observed loads to fracture, young patients could possibly bear weight sooner after surgery, although postoperative protocols should be individualized based on patient age, weight, bone density, amount of bone resected, concomitant procedures, and potential compliance with activity restrictions.
View details for DOI 10.1177/0363546520952774
View details for PubMedID 32881582