Question:Our adult son tells us he has a torn labrum in his hip that needs fixing. I understand this is a rim of cartilage around the hip socket. How do they put that back together?
Answer:You're right on with your description of the labrum. This extra cartilage is present in both the hip and the shoulder. It deepens the socket just a bit and helps hold the round head of the bone inside the socket.
A tear of the labrum can be very painful. Surgery to repair the problem is often needed. Sometimes the surgeon can stitch it back in place using an arthroscope. The arthrocope is a tool that makes it possible to go inside the joint without an large, open incision. In other cases, the scope is used to shave off and smooth down the torn cartilage.
It's always important to identify the cause of the tear. A faulty position of the hip or shallow socket could result in more problems later on if not taken care of now.
Sometimes the angle of the hip in the socket or even the tilt of the socket itself can be the source of the problem. Open hip surgery may be needed then to realign the hip and prevent the same labral damage from occurring a second time.
The surgeon will use X-rays and CT scans and/or MRIs to help plan the right procedure. A videotape of the operation is often made and given to the patient afterwards. You may be able to actually see for yourself what is done step-by-step!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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