Purpose: The purpose of this systematic review was to critically evaluate the available literature exploring the role of the hip joint capsule in the normal state (stable) and pathologic states (instability or stiffness). Furthermore, we examined the various ways that arthroscopic hip surgeons address the capsule intraoperatively: (1) capsulotomy or capsulectomy without closure, (2) capsulotomy with closure, and (3) capsular plication.
Methods: Two independent reviewers (B.D.G. and B.G.D.) performed a systematic review of the literature using PubMed and the reference lists of related articles by means of defined search terms. Relevant studies were included if these criteria were met: (1) written in English, (2) Level of Evidence I to V, (3) focus on capsule and its role in hip stability, and (4) human studies and reviews. Articles were excluded if they evaluated (1) total hip arthroplasty constructs using bony procedures or prosthetic revision, (2) developmental dysplasia of the hip where reorientation osteotomies were used, (3) syndromic instability, and (4) traumatic instability with associated bony injury
Results: By use of the search method described, 5,085 publications were reviewed, of which 47 met appropriate criteria for inclusion in this review. Within this selection group, there were multiple publications that specifically addressed more than 1 of the inclusion criteria. Relevant literature was organized into the following areas: (1) capsular anatomy, biome- chanics, and physiology; (2) the role of the capsule in total hip arthroplasty stability; (3) the role of the capsule in native hip stability; and (4) atraumatic instability and capsulorrhaphy.
Conclusions: As the capsuloligamentous stabilizers of the hip continue to be studied, and their role defined, ar- throscopic hip surgeons should become facile with arthroscopic repair or plication techniques to restore proper capsular integrity and tension when indicated.