Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hip FAQ

Question:

I've been diagnosed with a labral tear of the hip. I'm scheduled to see a specialist next week but thought I'd do a little research of my own on the Internet before my appointment. What kind of surgery can they do for this problem?

Answer:

The labrum is a thin but helpful extra layer of cartilage around the hip and shoulder joints. In the hip, it helps extend the edges of the joint socket to form a deeper cup for the round head of the femur (thigh bone). This helps keep the joint in the socket while still allowing a wide range of movements needed by the leg. Damage to the labrum can result in painful symptoms. Sometimes there is a clicking sensation and the hip can even get locked up if the torn labrum gets caught between two structures of the hip. Loss of hip motion is the outcome of either of these symptoms. There is a chance that the labrum can heal itself but most of the time, surgery to remove the ragged edges of the torn labrum is required. This procedure is called debridement. The surgeon shaves off the ragged edges of the labrum and smoothing the remaining edges. A more extensive surgery called a partial labrectomy may be needed. This involves removing the unstable part of the labrum. Studies show that partial labrectomies have better outcomes when there isn't damage to the underlying layer of cartilage attached to bone. The success rate drops from 90 per cent without chondral lesions down to 21 per cent for those patients with chondral defects. A newer approach to labral tears is now in use: labral repair. During a labral repair, the surgeon uses stitches and surgical anchors to reattach the torn labrum. Results of labral repairs have not been published yet in English-language medical journals. Most of the research that has been done has been published in European or Spanish-language journals. When valid and reliable tools are available, the results of debridement, partial labrectomy, and labral repair can be compared. Your surgeon will probably go over the various surgical options available to you and recommend the one that will work the best for the type of injury and damage you have. Marc R. Safran, MD. The Acetabular labrum: Anatomic and Functional Characteristics and Rationale for surgical Intervention. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. June 2010. Vol. 18. No. 6. Pp. 338-345.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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