Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine



My chronic hip pain has finally been diagnosed as a labral tear. The doctor thinks surgery is the only way to take care of this problem. Do I have any other options?


The labrum is a thin rim of fibrous cartilage around the hip socket. It helps hold the head of the femur in the shallow socket. It gives the hip stability. New studies suggest that labral tears can't heal without surgery. There isn't enough blood supply to the edge of the labrum.

Sometimes a piece of cartilage breaks off after the labrum is torn. This forms a loose body in the joint. Over time the loose body gets hard or calcifies. It can cause the hip to lock or catch during certain movements. The loose body can cause more damage to the joint so it must be removed at the same time the labral tear is repaired.

You mentioned "chronic" pain, which suggests you've had this problem for some time. The ongoing nature of your condition supports the idea that surgery is needed. If it was going to heal on its own, it would have happened by now.

Joseph C. McCarthy, MD, and Jo-Ann Lee, MS. Arthroscopic Intervention in Early Hip Disease. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. December 2004. Vol. 429. Pp. 157-162.

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