The aim of this study was to objectively quantify a surgeon's learning experience for hip arthroscopy.Methods:
We prospectively reviewed the first 100 hip arthroscopic procedures performed between 1999 and 2004 by a single experienced consultant orthopaedic surgeon. In the second part of the study, three groups of patients were sequentially analyzed: Group 1 included the first thirty patients treated by the surgeon; group 2, the sixty-first through ninetieth patients; and group 3, the 121st through 150th patients. The groups were compared with regard to the diagnosis, the duration of the central and peripheral compartment procedure, patient satisfaction, conversion to arthroplasty, and the nonarthritic hip score.Results:
There was a decrease in complications from the first thirty cases to the remaining seventy operations. There was an overall decrease in operative time over the 100 cases, representing a gradual learning process. A marked decrease in the operative time for central compartment arthroscopy was noted when we compared group 1 (mean, seventy minutes; range, forty-five to ninety-eight minutes), group 2 (mean, forty-eight minutes; range, twenty-six to fifty-nine minutes), and group 3 (mean, thirty-seven minutes; range, eighteen to sixty-one minutes). The operative time for peripheral compartment arthroscopy also decreased from group 2 (mean, ninety-one minutes; range, sixty to 126 minutes) to group 3 (mean, forty-five minutes; range, thirty-six to sixty-two minutes). There was an overall decrease in operative time over the first 100 cases. No difference among groups was noted in the number of cases requiring a reoperation or conversion to arthroplasty. There was a higher complication rate in the first thirty cases. An increase in the nonarthritic hip scores was noted postoperatively in the two groups in which the preoperative score had been measured. The postoperative score improved from group 1 (mean, 69; range, 39 to 84) to group 2 (mean, 79; range, 58 to 92) to group 3 (mean, 86; range, 51 to 98). Patient satisfaction was highest in group 3.Conclusions:
Hip arthroscopy is associated with high patient satisfaction and good short-term outcomes, but there is a learning curve that we estimate to be approximately thirty cases.Level of Evidence:
Prognostic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.