Abstract: Purpose The purpose of this study was to compare outcomes and reoperation rate between open and arthroscopic treatment of a suspected isolated septic hip in the pediatric population. Methods Retrospective review was performed on two cohorts of pediatric patients who underwent surgical intervention for suspected isolated septic hip arthritis at a single institution. Patients were subdivided into two cohorts based on whether they underwent an open versus arthroscopic approach. Patients were excluded if they received an initial surgery from an outside institution, did not have an acute, active infection at presentation, defined as a hip aspiration leukocyte count <50,000 cells with <75% neutrophils, had extracaspular pathology or osteomyelitis, or had septic arthritis of a joint other than the hip. Results Fifty-six hips were included [Open group (n = 36); Arthroscopic group (n = 20)]. Six percent (2/36) of hips in the open group and 26% (5/19) of hips in the arthroscopy group had a positive tissue culture (p = 0.041). Eleven hips (31%) underwent postoperative immobilization in the open group compared to one hip (5%) in the arthroscopic group (p = 0.039). Conclusions In the setting of isolated arthritis, arthroscopy is a reasonable treatment modality with no observed additional risk compared to open arthrotomy. However, with concomitant osteomyelitis or soft tissue abscess, open arthrotomy should remain the mainstay approach to address all elements of the infection.
Level of Evidence: Level III


• septic hip • pediatric septic hip • scope vs open