Hip "Hip" Hooray! Surgery Cuts Pain & Recovery Time

FRESNO, Calif.

She used to run 26.2 miles at a time, but recently, Meghan Krein couldn't run without excruciating pain.

"You know the worst case scenario going through my mind was I might never be able to do this again," Meghan Krein, told Ivanhoe.

She was suffering from abnormal contact between the bones of her hip. It can tear the labrum, which is soft tissue that cushions the joint like a gasket. Dr. Matthew Hansen specializes in helping people with the painful problem.

"In somebody like Meghan, when the socket was a little bit too deep and rotated toward the back, this predisposed her to getting pinching of the labrum, particularly when she tried to flex her hip," Matthew L. Hansen, M.D., an orthopedic sports medicine specialist at The Core Institute, said.

Surgical repair used to mean a large 8-inch incision, even dislocating the hip. The latest arthroscopic technology allows surgeons to trim bone and repair labral tears through a few one-centimeter incisions. Depending on the patient, recovery time varies from four to 12 months. Bouncing back from traditional hip surgery can take up to 18 months.

"So this is a tremendous breakthrough from a patient's perspective because the recovery is so much quicker," Dr. Hansen said.

And get this, Meghan was on a stationary bike just hours after surgery, and walking on crutches the same day. Now, she's pedaling fast toward a full recovery.

"I could do cartwheels. I'm so thrilled!" Meghan said.

This procedure isn't just for adults, doctors perform hip arthroscopy on patients in their teens and younger. It's covered by insurance, and generally gives patients permanent relief from their pain.


BACKGROUND: The labrum is a unique structure found in the hip; it lines the edge or rim of the hip socket. The shape and function of the labrum is similar to a bumper cushion on a pool table. The shape of the labrum is triangular in cross-section. It acts as a cushion between the ball and socket of the hip joint during flexion of the hip and it holds the thighbone (femur) in place. The labrum is filled with nerve fibers that make tears in the labrum very painful SOURCE: (www.dukehealth.org)

CAUSES: A hip labral involves the labrum. Labral tears typically occur from: repetitive motion; osteoarthritis, trauma; or it may be caused by a birth defect SOURCE: (www.dukehealth.org)

SYPMTOMS: Some labral tears cause no signs or symptoms. However, when symptoms are present, they include: radiating pain in the hip and groin; a catching or locking sensation in the hip joint; stiffness in the joint; or a limited range of motion SOURCE: (www.dukehealth.org)

RISK FACTORS: People with pre-existing hip problems are at a higher risk of experiencing a hip labral tear; also people who participate in sports or other activities that require repeated twisting or pivoting motions SOURCE: (www.mayoclinic.com)

TREATMENT: The level of treatment depends upon the severity of the condition. Some patients recover in only a few weeks using conservative treatments. However, patients with severe labral tearing may require surgery. One or a combination of these treatments may be used: rest and activity modification; medication; physical therapy; or surgery may be needed to repair or remove the torn portion of the labrum. SOURCE: (www.dukehealth.org); (www.mayoclinic.com)

THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW: A hip labral tear rarely occurs in isolation. In most cases, other structures within the hip joint have also sustained injuries. Patients with a hip labral tear may develop osteoarthritis in that joint in the future SOURCE: (www.mayoclinic.com)

LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS: Hip arthroscopy is an excellent solution for relieving hip pain; the surgery repairs the damaged hip by separating the ball and socket in the hip joint. The procedure is an outpatient procedure that requires small leg incisions and promotes accelerated rehabilitation. For patients younger than 40, who have good cartilage and healthy joints, it is a great solution for treating hip pain in a minimally invasive manner. For patients over 40, who have the preservation of articular cartilage, arthroscopy can provide significant relief for the specific conditions. Recover time for arthroscopic surgery is much less than the traditional, people who have this surgery can return to their normal activities in four months to a year, unlike with the traditional surgery which could have patients out for a year and a half SOURCE: (www.dukehealth.org) MORE


Allison M. Vasconcellos
Director, Marketing & Community Relations
The CORE Institute®
Center for Orthopedic Research and Education
(623) 474-3444

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