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Arthroscopy. 2006 May;22(5):505-10.

Endoscopic iliotibial band release for external snapping hip syndrome.

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Department of Adult Joint Reconstruction at the National Rehabilitation Institute of Mexico Orthopaedics Institute, Mexico City, Mexico.



The external snapping hip syndrome is caused by slippage of the iliotibial band over the greater trochanter. Most cases are treated conservatively but if this fails, open surgical treatment is commonly performed by Z-plasty or by creating a defect on the iliotibial band. We present a series of 11 hips that were surgically treated by an endoscopic technique.


Prospective consecutive series of patients.


Diagnosis of external snapping hip syndrome was clinical in all cases and anteroposterior pelvis radiographs were taken to evaluate the hip joint. Endoscopic release was performed with the patient in the lateral decubitus position without traction using 2 portals, the superior trochanteric and inferior trochanteric. A standard 4-mm, 30 degrees arthroscope was introduced at the inferior trochanteric portal over the iliotibial band. A needle was placed at the proximal trochanteric portal and visualized endoscopically. The portal was then established and subcutaneous tissue resection was performed with radiofrequency (RF) probes and a shaver until the iliotibial band was identifiable and released with a vertical cut made using an RF hook probe. The arthroscope was introduced into the space created under the iliotibial band and a transverse cut at the middle of the vertical release was then made, creating a cross-shape. Next the 4 resulting flaps were resected to make a diamond-shaped defect.


Between September 2001 and December 2003, we treated 11 patients, 9 female (1 bilateral) and 1 male with an average age of 26 years, for external snapping hip syndrome using an endoscopic technique. At an average 2-year follow-up, we had 1 patient with nonpainful snapping. The rest of the patients in the series had no complaints and returned to their previous level of activity.


We present a reproducible endoscopic technique for the treatment of external snapping hip syndrome. Our results are comparable to those reported for open procedures.


Level IV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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