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Prevalence of Generalized Ligamentous Laxity in Patients Undergoing Hip Arthroscopy: A Prospective Study of Patients' Clinical Presentation, Physical Examination, Intraoperative Findings, and Surgical Procedures


Background: Recent studies identified microinstability in the hip as a pathoetiology of painful hip conditions, and it was proposed that generalized ligamentous laxity conditions may predispose patients to such microinstability.

Purpose: To study the relationship of generalized ligamentous laxity with patient characteristics, clinical presentation, intraoperative findings, and surgical treatments in a cohort of patients undergoing hip arthroscopy.

Study design: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: Registry data were prospectively collected and retrospectively reviewed between February 2014 and November 2017 for patients who underwent primary hip arthroscopy and had a documented Beighton score to assess generalized ligamentous laxity. Patients with a history of an ipsilateral hip condition or ipsilateral hip surgery, those with Tönnis grade >1, and those who had simultaneous arthroscopic and open procedures were excluded from the study. Two comparisons were made between patients with low and high Beighton scores: Beighton 0 vs ≥1 (B 0 vs B ≥1) and Beighton 0-3 vs ≥4 (B 0-3 vs B ≥4). Patient demographics, symptomatology, physical examination, and intraoperative findings were compared between these low and high Beighton groups.

Results: A total of 1381 patients met our inclusion and exclusion criteria. Within this patient population, there were 882 with B 0, 499 with B ≥1, 1120 with B 0-3, and 261 with B ≥4. B 0 was 54.1% female, compared with 84.2% of B ≥1. Similarly, B 0-3 was 58.5% female, while B ≥4 was 92.7% female. The difference in sex makeup was significant between both sets of groups ( P < .0001). The relative risk of having B ≥1 for women versus men was 2.869, and the relative risk of having B ≥4 for women versus men was 6.873. The patients with higher Beighton scores in B ≥1 and B ≥4 had a younger mean age at onset of symptoms ( P < .0001) and lower mean body mass index ( P < .0001) than those in B 0 and B 0-3, respectively. The B ≥1 group had higher preoperative range of motion with internal rotation ( P = .05), external rotation ( P = .017), and flexion ( P < .0001) than B 0 patients, as well as a lower frequency of Trendelenburg gait pattern ( P = .0268). Similarly, the B ≥4 group had higher range of motion than the B 0-3 group with internal rotation ( P = .030), external rotation ( P = .003), flexion ( P < .0001), and abduction ( P = .002). As compared with the lower-score groups, the higher-score groups also had smaller labral size and tear dimension ( P < .0001), and a higher proportion of these patients underwent labral repair, capsular repair, and iliopsoas fractional lengthening.

Conclusion: Patients undergoing hip arthroscopy who have generalized ligamentous laxity are overall younger, have a lower body mass index, and are more often female, as compared with patients who have lesser laxity. Patients with higher preoperative Beighton scores had greater hip range of motion and smaller intraoperative labral size and tear dimensions. Additionally, these patients were more likely to undergo labral repair, capsular plication, and iliopsoas fractional lengthening.

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