We present the results of the FIRST trial - the first large-scale definitive randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of arthroscopic osteochondroplasty and arthroscopic lavage in the treatment of non-arthritic femoroacetabular impingement in patients 18-50 years of age on pain, function and health-related quality of life at one year.
Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a condition of the hip where there is a mismatch of the femoral head and hip acetabulum. This mismatch creates abnormal contact between the bones and causes hip pain which can lead to damage, and eventually osteoarthritis of the hip. The diagnosis and treatment of FAI has become one of the most popular clinical scenarios in orthopaedic surgery, with hip arthroscopy procedures increasing exponentially over the past 5 years. Surgical intervention usually involves correcting the existing deformities by reshaping the ball and socket (“osteoplasty” or “rim trimming”) so that they fit together more easily while repairing any other existing soft tissue damage in the hip joint (e.g. labral repair). Although correction of the misshaped bony anatomy and associated intra-articular soft tissue damage of the hip is thought to appease impingement and improve pain and function, the current evidence is based on small, observational, and low quality studies. A lack of definitive evidence regarding the efficacy of osteochondroplasty in treating FAI fueled the design and execution of the FIRST randomized controlled trial (RCT). FIRST evaluated the impact of surgical correction of the hip impingement morphology with arthroscopic osteochondroplasty versus arthroscopic lavage on pain, function, and quality of life in adults aged 18-50 years diagnosed with non-arthritic FAI at one year.
FIRST was a large definitive RCT (NCT01623843) enrolling patients with FAI requiring surgical intervention across 11 international clinical sites. Participants were randomized to either arthroscopic osteochondroplasty (shaving of bone) or lavage (washing the joint of painful inflammation debris). The primary outcome was patient-reported pain within one year of the initial surgery measured using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Secondary outcomes included function, health utility, and health-related quality of life using several general and hip-centric health questionnaires. An independent, blinded adjudication committee evaluated the quality of surgery, re-operations, and other patient complications. Patients and data analysts were blinded to the treatment groups.
220 participants were enrolled into the FIRST trial over a 6-year period (pilot phase: N=50, from 2012-2013 and definitive phase: N=170, from 2015-2018) at 11 clinical sites in Canada, Finland, and Denmark. We anticipate the FIRST results to be available in March 2019, and will be released at the ISAKOS annual meeting as follows. The absolute difference in rate of pain reduction between groups was XX (95% CI: YY-YY, p=X). The mean differences of the Short-Form 12 (SF-12, MCS and PCS), Hip Outcome Score (HOS), International Hip Outcome Tool (iHOT-12), and EuroQol 5-Dimensions (EQ-5D) between groups are XX (95% CI: YY-YY, p=X)…, respectively. Reoperations occurred in XX of 220 (X%) patients over the one-year follow up period (OR:XX, 95% CI: YY-YY, p=X) and the patients treated with arthroscopic osteochondroplasty conferred the following risk of reoperation within one-year compared to arthroscopic lavage (RR:XX, 95% CI: YY-YY, p=X).
This RCT represents major international efforts to definitively identify the optimal treatment strategy for FAI. The results of this trial will change practice, being used to prevent chronic hip pain and loss of function caused by hip osteoarthritis.