Background: Extensive literature has described surgical outcomes for pre-arthritic hip pain, but the proportion of patients who progress to surgery remains unknown. Objective: To determine the proportion of patients who present to a tertiary referral center for pre-arthritic hip pain and progress to surgery at minimum 1-year follow-up. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Single tertiary care academic medical center. Patients: Patients ages 13 to 40 years who presented for initial evaluation to a conservative or surgical orthopedic specialist and were diagnosed with pre-arthritic hip pain (n = 713 patients, 830 hips). Intervention: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was the rate of progression to surgery at minimum 1-year follow-up for the entire cohort. Predictors of progression to surgery were determined for the entire cohort and for radiographically defined subgroups using multiple logistic regression. Candidate predictors included baseline demographic, radiographic, clinical diagnosis, and patient-reported outcome measures. Results: In a cohort with a mean age of 25.4 (SD 8.1) years, 72.7% female, and mean follow-up of 2.6 (range 1.0-4.8) years, 429 of 830 hips (51.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 48.2% to 55.1%) progressed to surgery. Predictors of surgical progression in the entire cohort included younger age (OR 0.95/year, 95% CI 0.93 to 0.98), pain duration longer than 6 months (ORs 1.87-2.03, p ≤.027), worse physical function (OR 0.96/Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System [PROMIS] point, 0.92 to 0.99), and a clinical diagnosis of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) (OR 3.47, 2.05 to 5.89), acetabular dysplasia (OR 2.75, 1.73 to 4.35), and/or labral tear (OR 10.71, 6.98 to 16.47). Radiographic dysplasia (lateral center edge angle <20 degrees) increased the likelihood of surgery in all subgroups (ORs 2.05-8.47, p ≤.008). Increasing maximum α angle increased the likelihood of surgery in patients with severe cam FAI (α > 63 degrees) (OR 1.03/degree, 1.00 to 1.06). Conclusion: Almost half of patients with pre-arthritic hip pain did not progress to surgery at a minimum 1-year follow-up. A trial of conservative management is likely worthwhile in most patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-586
Number of pages12
JournalPM and R
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


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