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The acetabular labrum

a review of its function

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The acetabular labrum is a soft-tissue structure which lines the acetabular rim of the hip joint. Its role in hip joint biomechanics and joint health has been of particular interest over the past decade. In normal hip joint biomechanics, the labrum is crucial in retaining a layer of pressurised intra-articular fluid for joint lubrication and load support/distribution. Its seal around the femoral head is further regarded as a contributing to hip stability through its suction effect. The labrum itself is also important in increasing contact area thereby reducing contact stress. Given the labrum’s role in normal hip joint biomechanics, surgical techniques for managing labral damage are continuously evolving as our understanding of its anatomy and function continue to progress. The current paper aims to review the anatomy and biomechanical function of the labrum and how they are affected by differing surgical techniques.

Take home message: The acetabular labrum plays a critical role in hip function and maintaining and restoring its function during surgical intervention remain an essential goal.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2016;98-B:730–5.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr P. E. Beaulé; e-mail:

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