Question:I'm a 42-year old active male with serious hip pain. When I was 36, I saw a surgeon who told me I'm too young for a hip replacement. Has anything changed in the last six years? I'm still suffering and would really like to remain active.
Answer:Improved diagnostic imaging may be what has changed the most. The use of thin-cut CT scans gives a 3-D view of the hip joint. Combined with magnetic resonance arthrography (MRA) and X-ray, surgeons can better see what is the problem. Understanding the cause of painful symptoms helps the surgeon plan a more effective treatment.
By the way, MRA is the injection of a contrast agent (dye) directly into the joint space. then MRI pictures are taken. The technique helps show the shape and depth of the joint space. The dye will seep into any areas where the cartilage is torn or pulled away.
There are two main reasons why young adults have hip pain. Abnormal loading and pinching called impingement can result in pain and loss of motion. A shallow hip socket called dysplasia can do the same thing. In many cases, the surgeon may be able to repair and realign the hip.
It may be time to go back for a second look or a second opinion about your particular situation. New advances in the diagnosis and treatment of hip pain in young adults may put a different spin on your case.Christopher L. Peters, MD, and Jill Erickson, PA-C. The Etiology and Treatment of Hip Pain in the Young Adult. In The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. December 2006. Vol. 88-A. Supplement 4. Pp. 20-26.
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