Hip arthroscopy without traction: In vivo anatomy of the peripheral hip joint cavity

Michael Dienst*, Stefan Gödde, Romain Seil, Dietrich Hammer, Dieter Kohn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

158 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To describe the in vivo anatomy of the peripheral compartment of the hip joint using a systematic sequence of examination without traction. Type of Study: Case series. Methods: We performed 35 hip arthroscopies without traction from an anterolateral portal in the supine position. Free draping and a good range of movement of the hip joint were used to relax parts of the capsule and increase the intra-articular volume of the area that was inspected. Each procedure was documented on a standard protocol including detailed information on technical features and normal and pathologic intra-articular findings. Results: A comprehensive inspection of the peripheral compartment was obtained from the anterolateral portal. A systematic sequence of examination was developed separating the periphery of the hip joint into 7 areas: anterior neck area, medial neck area, medial head area, anterior head area, lateral head area, lateral neck area, and posterior area. The arthroscopic in vivo anatomy of each area is described. In 3 patients, 1 to 3 loose bodies were removed. In 1 patient with a synovial chondromatosis, 40 chondromas were retrieved. In osteoarthritis, impinging osteophytes were trimmed in 3 cases and partial synovectomy was performed in 10 patients. The following complications were observed: a temporary sensory deficit of the lateral femoral cutaneus nerve in 1 patient, scuffing of the anterior surface of the femoral head in 3 patients, detaching of an osteophyte in 1 patient, and partial tears of the anterior synovial fold in 10 patients. Conclusions: Arthroscopy without traction allows for a complete evaluation of hip anatomy without the loaded articular surfaces, the acetabular fossa, and the ligamentum teres. For a complete overview of both the central and peripheral part of the hip, traction is necessary for the central part.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)924-931
Number of pages8
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomy
  • Hip arthroscopy
  • Technique


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