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Arthroscopic Hip Surgery: Good News for Younger Adults Print E-mail

By Dr. Christian Heywood

If you think of hip surgery only in terms of geriatric medicine, think again.

Hip problems, stemming from injuries or other causes, result in increasing pain, lessened mobility and a significantly decreased quality of life among middle-aged and younger patients.

New advances in arthroscopic hip surgery, however, are changing the game for athletes and active adults.   Professional athletes Greg Norman, Alex Rodriguez and Kurt Warner have emerged as strong as ever in their respective sports after hip arthroscopy.

Yet many patients, even general practitioners, don’t fully understand the benefits of this approach for younger people, typically those under 45 with no significant arthritis.

Arthroscopic hip surgery can address hip pain in younger patients from various conditions - infections, loose bodies within the joint, synovitis (an inflammation of the inner lining of the capsule of the hip joint), injuries, as well as impingement of the hips that results in a torn labrum.

Understanding minimally invasive hip surgery can help you know whether you or your patients are good candidates.


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Previously, surgeons would perform an arthrotomy, a full, open incision into the hip joint and dislocate the hip to address the conditions causing pain.  For a lot of patients, the cure was worse than the problem---more post-operative pain, months of healing and possible complications—so pain was often addressed merely with medications or physical therapy.

Minimally invasive hip surgery is performed through small incisions aided by a fiber optic camera.  Pain is minimized and healing time is reduced by orders of magnitude since no muscles are cut or disturbed.

Hip arthroscopy can help if you or your patients have tears of the labrum, the rubber-like tissue that stabilizes and distributes stress in the hip like a gasket.  Surgeons can also address FAI, femoro-acetabular impingement.  FAI can cause pain as the labrum gets pinched, often resulting in labrum tears and articular cartilage.

If your joints are cone-shaped than round, it can lead to impingement over time, contributing to early hip arthritis, sports hernias and lower back pain.  FAI is common in high-level athletes, but you’re also in danger if you’re active and involved in such sports as taekwondo, golf, ballet/figure skating, ice hockey, baseball, yoga and snowboarding.


Latest News

Community Talk July 28, 2014 6:30pm

Join Dr. Nicholas Abidi, M.D., Dr. Peter Reynolds, M.D. and  Dr. Christian Heywood, M.D. as they discuss knee and hip pain and the available treatment options.



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