Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hip FAQ

Question:

Sometimes having access to the Internet is a bad thing. I found out today from surfing the web that my nephew's hip dislocation could cause the whole thing to die. He's only 22-years-old and I'm reading hip replacement. Isn't there something they can do to keep this from happening before it happens?

Answer:

Hip dislocation in young adults is usually the result of a sports injury or high-speed traumatic event (e.g., car accident). Studies show that getting to the emergency department as soon as possible with an injury like this is very important. Waiting more than six hours to get treatment is linked with serious complications (even death of the femoral head called osteonecrosis). If the blood vessel to the head of the femur is damaged, loss of blood supply can result in death (necrosis) of the bone (osteo) -- that's why it's called osteonecrosis. Not everyone develops osteonecrosis but it is a fairly significant complication in up to one-third of all cases. It depends on how severe the injury was and how soon the dislocation was reduced (put back in place). Other damage is often reported such as tears of the ligamentum teres. that's the ligament holding the head of the femur in the middle of the socket. If this ligament isn't repaired or restored, the femoral head won't stay in the center of the socket. The goal of treatment is to get the hip back into the socket and make sure it a) stays there and b) keeps its normal shape (round head of the femur in the center of the socket). Any deviation from the normal anatomical position can increase the risk of unever wear and tear leading to osteoarthritis. Close follow-up by the treating surgeon is really the best way to avoid further problems. Your nephew should be told to get back to the surgeon as quickly as possible if painful symptoms and/or loss of hip joint motion occurs. Not everyone develops additional problems -- let's hope your nephew is one with a simple case that doesn't require further treatment. Dislocation. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. July 2011. Vol. 39. Supplement 4. Pp. S505-S515.

*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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