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SICOT J. 2017;3:45. doi: 10.1051/sicotj/2017027. Epub 2017 Jun 14.

Treatment of acetabular chondral lesions with microfracture technique.

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Departamento de Traumatología, Clínica Alemana, Santiago, Chile - Facultad de Medicina, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile.
Departamento de Traumatología, Clínica Alemana, Santiago, Chile.



Acetabular cartilage lesions are frequently found during hip arthroscopy. In the hip joint they mostly occur secondary to a mechanical overload resulting from a pre-existing deformity as hip dysplasia or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). Lesions identified during arthroscopy can vary greatly from the earliest stages to the most advanced (full-thickness lesions). These lesions occur in the acetabulum in the early stages of joint damage. Microfractures are indicated in full-thickness chondral defects. Ideally, these lesions must be focal and contained.


The procedure begins debriding all the unstable chondral tissue of the lesion. The edges should have a net cut towards stable and healthy cartilage. It is recommended to make as many perforations as possible using arthroscopic awls. They should be ideally 4 mm deep and must have a vertical orientation to the surface. The suggested distance between perforations is of 3-4 mm. Once the treatment of the chondral lesion with the microfractures is complete, the labrum must be repaired. The repair of the labrum transforms in most of the cases the defect in a contained lesion containing better the clot in the lesion after the microfractures have been performed. It is also important to correct the bone deformity that has caused this lesion, which mostly corresponds to a "cam" deformity.


Clinical studies confirm good short- and medium-term results in full-thickness chondral lesions treated with microfractures in the absence of osteoarthritis. However, it is difficult to determine if these results are only due to the microfractures, as this treatment is always complemented with several other factors and surgical procedures, such as labrum repair, correction of underlying bone deformity or change in postoperative activity of operated patients.

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