Acetabular Microfracture — Hype and Reality

Big claims about 10-year results of arthroscopic acetabular microfracture don't withstand close scrutiny

What’s the Claim?

This small case series reported that 15 of the 20 patients they reported on (unclear how many underwent the intervention) who underwent hip arthroscopy with acetabular microfracture were free from total hip arthroplasty 10 years later, though 5 of the 20 also had repeat arthroscopic surgery. The number of patients who achieved a clinically important improvement in the four outcomes scores varied, from 6 of the 20 (for the Hip Outcome Score-Sport-Specific Subscale) to 11 of the 20 (for the modified Harris Hip Score), though not all patients reported outcomes scores at the 10-year mark. If you read the above and compare it to the claims made in the abstract of the paper or its somewhat breathless accompanying commentary, you’ll get a very different take-home message — with the one you’re reading here seeming considerably more modest — and I’ll return to this point in a moment.

How’s It Stack Up?