What is Femoroplasty?
A femoroplasty is a surgical procedure employed for the treatment of cam impingement.
Cam impingement is a form of hip impingement, also known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI).
Femoroacetabular impingement is a condition characterised by excessive friction in the hip joint from the presence of bony irregularities. The femoral head and acetabulum rub against each other, causing damage and pain to the hip joint, as well as decreased range of hip motion. The damage can occur to the articular cartilage (the smooth white surface of the ball or socket) or the labral tissue (the lining of the edge of the socket). The articular cartilage or labral tissue can fray or tear after repeated friction.
Cam impingement involves the femoral side of the hip joint and occurs when the femoral head and neck are not perfectly round, usually due to excess bone formation. This lack of roundness and excess bone causes abnormal contact between the surfaces.
The femoroplasty procedure involves removal of the cam lesion (bony abnormality) on the femur and reshaping the femur head and neck junction into a normal, round sphere using special instruments to restore pain-free hip motion.
Anatomy of the Hip Joint
The hip joint is one of the body's largest weight-bearing joints and is the point where the thighbone (femur) and pelvis (acetabulum) join. It is a ball-and-socket joint in which the head of the femur forms the ball, and the pelvic acetabulum forms the socket. The joint surface is covered by smooth articular cartilage that cushions and enables smooth movement of the joint. Stability of the hip joint is achieved by the labrum, ligaments, and tendons that encase the hips and support their movement.
Indications for Femoroplasty
Femoroplasty is indicated when conservative treatment such as medications, physical therapy, injections, rest and activity modifications have failed to resolve symptoms associated with Cam impingement such as:
- Groin pain associated with hip activity
- Complaints of pain in the front, side, or back of the hip
- A locking, clicking, or catching sensation in the hip
- Pain in the inner hip or groin area after prolonged sitting or walking
- Difficulty walking uphill
- Restricted hip movement
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the buttocks or outer thigh area
Preparation for Femoroplasty
Preoperative preparation for femoroplasty generally involves the following steps:
- A thorough examination is performed by your doctor to check for any medical issues that need to be addressed prior to surgery.
- Depending on your medical history, social history, and age, you may need to undergo tests such as blood work and imaging to help detect any abnormalities that could threaten the safety of the procedure.
- You will be asked if you have allergies to medications, anaesthesia, or latex.
- You should inform your doctor of any medications, vitamins, or supplements that you are taking.
- You may need to refrain from supplements or medications such as blood-thinners or anti-inflammatories a week or two prior to surgery.
- You should refrain from alcohol or tobacco at least a week before surgery.
- You should not consume any solids or liquids at least 8 hours prior to surgery.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery.
- A written consent will be obtained from you after the surgical procedure has been explained in detail.
Procedure for Femoroplasty
Femoroplasty is usually performed as a minimally invasive technique called hip arthroscopy under regional or general anaesthesia. Hip arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole surgery, is a surgical procedure in which an arthroscope, a narrow tube with a tiny camera and light source on the end, is used to assess and repair damage at the hip joint.
During femoroplasty, your surgeon will make 2 or 3 small incisions about 1/4 inch in length around the hip joint. Through one of the incisions, the arthroscope is inserted. Along with it, a sterile solution is pumped into the joint to expand the joint area and create room for the surgeon to work. The camera attached to the arthroscope displays the image of the joint on the monitor. The larger image on the television monitor allows your surgeon to visualise the joint easily to determine the extent of damage. Miniature surgical instruments are inserted through other tiny incisions to remove the bony abnormality (Cam lesion) on the femur and reshape the femoral head and neck junction into a normal sphere. Tissue damage such as labral tearing is also typically addressed during the procedure. After completion of the procedure, the arthroscope and instruments are removed, and the incisions are closed and covered with a bandage.
Postoperative Care and Instructions
In general, postoperative care instructions and recovery after femoroplasty will involve the following steps:
- You will be transferred to the recovery area where your nurse will closely observe you for any allergic/anaesthetic reactions and monitor your vital signs as you recover.
- You may notice some pain, swelling, and discomfort in the operated area. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications are provided as needed.
- You will be placed on assistive devices such as crutches with instructions on restricted weight-bearing for a specified period of time. You are encouraged to walk with assistance as frequently as possible to prevent blood clots.
- Keep the surgical site clean and dry. Instructions on surgical site care and bathing will be provided.
- Refrain from smoking as it can negatively affect the healing process.
- Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamin D is strongly advised to promote healing and a faster recovery.
- Refrain from strenuous activities for the first few months and lifting heavy weights for at least 6 months. Gradual increase in activities over a period of time is recommended.
- An individualised physical therapy protocol will be designed to help strengthen hip muscles and optimise hip function.
- Most patients are able to resume their normal activities in 3 to 4 weeks after surgery; however, return to sports may take 6 months or longer.
- Refrain from driving until you are fully fit and receive your doctor’s consent.
- A periodic follow-up appointment will be scheduled to monitor your progress.
Risks and Complications
Femoroplasty is a relatively safe procedure; however, as with any surgery, some risks and complications may occur, such as the following:
- Postoperative pain
- Damage to nerves and vessels
- Thromboembolism or blood clots
- Dislocations (rarely)
- Anaesthetic/allergic reactions