Australian FAI clinical trial kicks off

A randomised controlled trial of hip arthroscopy versus physiotherapy-led, non-surgical management for femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (FAI) will help determine whether either intervention can modify the risk of future hip osteoarthritis.

Lead researcher Professor David Hunter, from Sydney’s Institute of Bone and Joint Research, told the limbic the study would help address an evidence gap in the area.

“Femoroacetabular impingement is a common problem that regularly attracts surgical attention and the rates of hip arthroscopy have been going up dramatically over the last decade.”

“At this point in time there is no controlled trial evidence to support the efficacy of this procedure for relieving symptoms or improving long-term prognosis as it relates to osteoarthritis.”

The study will enrol 140 FAI patients aged 18-50 years and measure hip cartilage health, as demonstrated by changes in the delayed gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of cartilage (dGEMRIC) index at baseline and 12 months.

“Prior studies that have used this MRI measure have been very predictive of long-term prognosis as it relates to osteoarthritis development and total hip replacement requirement,” Professor Hunter said.

Secondary outcomes in the study include patient-reported outcomes and several structural and biomechanical measures relevant to the pathogenesis of FAI and development of hip osteoarthritis.

“We hope to have completed the trial by the latter portion of 2018 with the intent that we can then identify the evidence to either support or refute these interventions for FAI.”

He said the study would also incorporate long-term follow-up of the rate of surgical intervention required three to five years after recruitment into the trial.

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