Can we predict the natural course of femoroacetabular impingement ?

Published online: Apr 27 2011

Emmanuel A. Audenaert, Ian Peeters, Stefaan Van Onsem, Christophe Pattyn

From Gent University Hospital, Gent, Belgium


We conducted a multivariate regression analysis (including both radiographic and activity related variables) in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip and structural changes related with femoroacetabular impingement. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the age at which total hip arthroplasty may have to be performed, can be predicted in patients with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). In 121 patients with FAI-related osteoarthritis, radiographic variables describing FAI-related parameters were obtained and the patients were questioned about their activity during early adulthood by means of the validated Baecke et al questionnaire. None of the variables significantly correlated with the final outcome parameter : age at surgery. As expected, based on the low correlation ratios of the different parameters investigated, a multiple-regression model was not accurate enough to allow any prediction on the natural course of FAI. We found that it is difficult to accurately predict the age at which a patient with FAI will develop early osteoarthritis. From our findings it appears that a hip with FAI is not always prone to early end-stage osteoarthritic degeneration, not even in patients with a high level of physical activity. Hence, considering the high prevalence of FAI-related radiographic findings, we conclude that not every radiographic abnormality requires treatment.