High Rate of Full Duty Return to Work After Hip Arthroscopy for Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome in Workers Who Are Not on Workers’ Compensation

Background: Femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (FAIS) is an increasingly common diagnosis among working-age adults. Hip arthroscopy provides reliable improvements in pain and may allow patients to return to physical activities. No study to date has evaluated return to work (RTW) among a general population of adults after arthroscopic surgery for FAIS.

Purpose: To evaluate (1) patients’ rate of RTW, (2) time required to RTW, and (3) factors correlated with time required to RTW after arthroscopic surgery for symptomatic FAIS.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Consecutive patients aged 25 to 59 years who underwent arthroscopic surgery for FAIS between June 2018 and December 2018 were reviewed. Workers’ compensation cases and patients with <1-year follow-up were excluded. The following were collected at a minimum of 1 year postoperatively: demographics, employment characteristics, Hip Outcome Score (HOS; Activities of Daily Living and Sports Specific subscales), modified Harris Hip Score, 12-Item International Hip Outcome Tool (iHOT-12), visual analog scale for pain, and RTW characteristics. Work physical activity level was classified as sedentary, light, moderate, heavy, or very heavy per established criteria.

Results: A total of 97 patients were selected through inclusion and exclusion criteria. RTW surveys were collected for 79 (81.4%), and 61 were employed preoperatively. Time worked per week was 42.8 ± 12.5 hours (mean ± SD). Patients’ work level was most commonly classified as sedentary (42.6%), followed by moderate (24.6%). All 61 (100%) patients returned to work at a mean 7.3 weeks (range, <1-88 weeks) postoperatively. Sixty patients (95.2%) returned to full duty. Time required to full duty RTW was strongly correlated with expected time off from work (r = 0.900; P < .0001) and moderately correlated with work classification (r = 0.640; P = .0001). All patients had significant pre- to postoperative improvements in the HOS-Activities of Daily Living (64.8 ± 15.3 to 87.1 ± 12.2; P < .001), HOS-Sports Specific (42.8 ± 18.8 to 76.7 ± 16.5; P < .001), iHOT-12 (31.3 ± 18.8 to 69.3 ± 21.1; P < .001), modified Harris Hip Score (61.8 ± 12.1 to 80.3 ± 14.1; P < .001), and visual analog scale for pain (5.19 ± 2.11 to 2.40 ± 1.96; P < .001).

Conclusion: Patients undergoing arthroscopic treatment for FAIS demonstrated a high rate of RTW at a mean of <2 months postoperatively. A patient’s expected time off from work and the level of physical demands required for work were highly associated with time required to RTW. These results are valuable for orthopaedic surgeons, patients, and employers when establishing a timeline for expected RTW after surgery.

Keywords: FAIS; femoroacetabular impingement syndrome; hip arthroscopy; return to work.