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Brisbane Hip Clinic
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Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

Surgery of the HipJoint

Open Debridement

What is an open hip debridement?

Open debridement is a joint preserving operation used to reshape a deformed hip joint. During the procedure, excess bone is removed from the femoral head (ball), socket (acetabulum) or both. Open debridement is usually used in situations where the shape of the hip joint is too distorted to allow treatment by arthroscopy (key hole surgery) and where reshaping can be better conducted with an open procedure.


What conditions can be treated with an open debridement?

The most common reason for recommending an open debridement is to treat a condition known as femoro-acetabular impingement (FAI), especially when the condition arises as a result of childhood conditions such as Perthes disease or a slipped upper femoral epiphysis.

What is Femoro-acetabular Impingement (FAI)?

FAI is a condition where the bony shape of femoral head (ball) or the acetabulum (socket) is abnormal, resulting in progressive damage to the hip joint cartilage. Due to the abnormal shape of the hip joint surfaces, the thigh bone abnormally strikes against the rim of the socket, causing damage to the socket lining and supporting cartilage (labrum). FAI is a leading cause for the development of hip osteoarthritis, but can usually be treated by arthroscopy (key hole surgery) except in severe cases, where open debridement may be recommended. For further details, see 'Femoro-acetabular impingement'.


What does an open hip debridement involve?

The procedure involves an incision either on the side of the thigh or around the lower bikini line. Usually the procedure involves reshaping the upper thigh bone. Most patients will remain in hospital for 3-5 days.


How long will it take to recover?

You are permitted to progressively weight bear immediately after surgery. Most patients will require the use of two crutches for 4-6 weeks; you can progress to a single crutch and stop using walking aids when comfortable. A single stick in the opposite hand for an additional 6 weeks may provide comfort. You can drive a car when you feel confident to safely control the motor vehicle, typically around 2-4 weeks. A graduated approach to the reintroduction of activity is recommended. Impact activity is restricted for a minimum of 3 months. 


 Is physiotherapy required after the procedure? 

Regular physiotherapy is essential during the recovery period to assist in rapid recovery of joint function and muscular control.


What are the risks of an open debridement?

Open hip debridement is a safe operation. The risk of infection is small (<1%). Serious nerve injury is uncommon. As the operation is conducted in a manner which preserves blood supply to the hip, avascular necrosis (collapse of the ball due to inadequate blood supply) is rare. Patients who are treated with a bikini-line incision may experience a numb patch below the groin incision, which often recovers but may be permanent.

This information handout has been written by A/Prof Patrick Weinrauch for the purposes of patient education. The details provided are of general nature only and do not substitute for professional recommendations based an individual clinical assessment. 03/14.