Open Hip Abductor Tendon Repair into a Bone Trough: Improved Outcomes for Hip Abductor Tendon Avulsion

Stephen J. Incavo, Katharine D. Harper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Hip abductor tendon tears are a well-recognized entity that results in progressive lateral hip pain, weakness, and limping. These can occur in patients with native hips or in patients following total hip arthroplasty. However, treatment of these 2 distinct groups does not differ. We describe a new repair technique utilizing a longitudinal bone trough in the greater trochanter. We compare our results (focusing on gluteus medius tendon avulsions) and traditional repair with suture anchors or transosseous bone tunnels. Additionally, we propose a classification system that attempts to describe the different types of tears to guide treatment, as the current classification system is not helpful in defining pathology or guiding treatment. Our proposed classification will help to better describe tear types anatomically and thereby guide appropriate surgical interventions based on these types.

Description: Abductor tears were classified, according to our system, as Type I when there was no gluteus medius avulsion from bone (with subtype A indicating a partial tear of the gluteus minimus or gluteus medius; B, a complete tear of the gluteus minimus; and C, a longitudinal tear of the gluteus medius) or Type II when there was a gluteus medius avulsion (with subtype A indicating an avulsion of <50% of the insertion into the greater trochanter, and B, an avulsion of ≥50% of the insertion). Repair into a bone trough involves (1) freeing up and mobilizing the tendon from overlying fascia, (2) placing 2 evenly spaced Krackow stitches in the tendon, (3) creating a bone trough using a burr in the midline of the greater trochanter, (4) creating bone tunnels out the lateral wall of the trough to pass sutures, and (5) passing sutures through the bone tunnels to allow inset of the tendon into the trough, and later tying the sutures over the lateral osseous bridge.

Alternatives: Alternative treatment options include nonoperative and operative management. Nonoperative treatment choices include physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and activity modification with assistive walking devices. Surgical alternatives include endoscopic or open direct soft-tissue repair, suture anchor repair, bone tunnel repair, graft jacket reconstruction, or gluteus maximus muscle transfer.

Rationale: Because of discouraging outcomes experienced by us and others, a new technique (a greater trochanter longitudinal bone trough) was developed to improve surgical results. This technique, utilizing an abductor tendon repair into a bone trough, improved our surgical outcomes for abductor tendon avulsions. We found that outcomes after surgical treatment of abductor tendon tears without avulsion are superior to those after repairs of abductor tendon avulsions, which is an important distinction compared with previous literature on abductor tendon repairs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0042
Pages (from-to)e0042
JournalJBJS Essential Surgical Techniques
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 19 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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