In this post, we'll look more closely at studies that claim high success rates, and we'll look at what recent research says about actual patient satisfaction with FAI surgery.
At the bottom of this page, you'll also find a list that we intend to keep updated on high quality studies on FAI surgery satisfaction rates.
Some studies say that FAI surgery works really well
In this study for example, Arthroscopic Femoroplasty in the Management of Cam-type Femoroacetabular Impingement, 83% of patients were reported to have had improvement from surgery for cam and mixed (cam and pincer) impingement.
The study notes that the average improvement for those who got improvement was 20 points on the Harris Hip Score. The range of scores went from -17 (meaning someone got much worse) to +60 (meaning someone felt much better).
On the face, a study like this sounds very promising, but the reality is much different if you take a closer look.
...But let's take a closer look at FAI surgery success scoring
Looking at that study, everything sounds very promising. However we need to look closer at the Harris Hip Score questionnaire to understand what "improvement" really means.
The Harris Hip Score is a series of questions that get answered pre and post-operation. In general, to be considered a successful hip surgery, the patient must score at least 20 points higher post-op than they did pre-op. It is also a flawed metric that does not align with a patient's definition of success. The way the points are tallied does not actually line up with what a person with hip pain would consider success!
Let's look at a key question related to this: "how difficult is it to get 20 points?"
The answer is NOT VERY. Let's take a look together.
Open the Harris Hip Score so you can follow along and test this out yourself. The very first question is about pain. Go ahead and fill in that you're "marked pain" (one step better than the very worst). Scroll down and look at your score. You should see 10.
(If you'd like a video walk through of this section, please watch this YouTube video).