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Acetabuloplasty: Procedure, Recovery, Risks, Complications

Acetabuloplasty is a surgical procedure beneficial in correcting Pincer impingement. This is conducted when other conservative treatments do not work in relieving pain. More about Acetabuloplasty is discussed in the following array of the article.

Acetabuloplasty: Procedure, Recovery, Risks, Complications

Acetabuloplasty: An Overview

Our hip joint is a ball and socket joint that is formed by the head or the upper rounded end of the femur (thigh bone) that articulates with the acetabulum or the cotyloid cavity in the pelvic bone. A smooth movement of the hip joint is possible because of the smooth surfaces of the head of the femur and acetabulum.

FAI or Femoroacetabular impingement is a clinical syndrome that denotes the anatomic abnormalities of the femoral head and/or the acetabulum and during hip motion, there is abnormal contact between these two, particularly in positions of hip flexion and rotation, which ultimately leads to labral and cartilage damage and cause pain in the hip.(1) Femoroacetabular impingement is recognized to be a primary source of hip pain and is also considered a generator of secondary osteoarthritis.(2)

Femoroacetabular impingement associated with the acetabulum is known as Pincer impingement. To correct Pincer impingement, a surgical procedure is followed that is known as acetabuloplasty. Acetabuloplasty is generally performed by a minimally invasive technique, named arthroscopy.

Preparation For Acetabulopasty

Before the surgical procedure of acetabuloplasty is done, some preoperative preparation is to be followed in the hospital setup:

  • Your doctor performs a thorough examination and checks for any health issues that need to be addressed before the surgery.
  • You might need to undergo specific tests like blood tests and imaging, based on your medical history and age. These tests might help in detecting any sort of abnormalities that might threaten the safety of the surgical procedure.
  • Your doctor might ask if you are allergic to anesthesia, medications, or latex.
  • You might have to refrain from medications or supplements like blood thinners or anti-inflammatories before one or two weeks of the surgery.
  • You also need to refrain from tobacco or alcohol at least one week before the acetabuloplasty.
  • You must not drink or eat anything at least 8 hours before your surgery.
  • You should provide written consent after you are being explained detailly with the surgical procedure.

How Is Acetabuloplasty Performed?

An acetabuloplasty is performed when there is Pincer impingement. Your doctor will use tiny instruments and a small camera for assessing the inside of your hip. Then acetabuloplasty will be conducted, which would take away the area of over coverage on the acetabular side that would relieve the bony impingement and make space so that normal motion of the hip would be possible.

Postoperative Care and Recovery After Acetabuloplasty

Following steps of postoperative care and recovery would be required to be followed after acetabuloplasty:

  • You will be closely observed for any anesthetic or allergic reactions and nurses will monitor your important signs during the recovery process.
  • You might experience some level of pain, swelling, and discomfort in the operated portion. To reduce the pain and fasten the recovery process, you might be given pain and anti-inflammatory medications.
  • You will be placed with certain assistive devices like crutches with proper instructions on restricted weight-bearing for some time. You will be encouraged to frequently walk with assistance to prevent blood clots.
  • You need to keep the surgical site dry and clean.
  • One of the most important things you need to follow is to refrain from smoking since it can affect the healing process negatively.
  • Consuming a healthy diet that is packed with vitamin D is advised strongly which promotes healing and lets you recover quickly.
  • You should refrain from strenuous activities for a few months and should not lift heavy weights for at least 6 months. You can gradually increase the activities.
  • To help strengthen your hip muscles and optimize the functioning of your hip, you will have to follow the prescribed physical therapy exercises.
  • Until you are completely fit and receive consent from your doctor, you should refrain from driving.
  • Most patients resume their normal activities in about 3-4 weeks after acetabuloplasty. However, it might take 6 months or longer if you need to return to sports.
  • To monitor the progress of your recovery from the surgery, a periodic follow-up appointment would be scheduled.

Risks And Complications Associated With Acetabuloplasty

Acetabuloplasty is a safe and effective procedure. However, some risks might occur in any kind of surgery, including acetabuloplasty. Risks and complications which are associated with this surgical procedure might be infection, postoperative pain, bleeding, blood clots or thromboembolism, damage to nerves and blood vessels, dislocations, and allergic or anesthetic reactions.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 3, 2022

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