A less invasive procedure for pain relief

Hip preservation is an arthroscopic surgical procedure that can delay the need for a full hip replacement. The procedure offers pain relief for patients ranging from younger adults to seniors suffering from hip impingement symptoms and other non-arthritic conditions.

Meet our team

Guillaume D. Dumont, MD

Frank K. Noojin, MD

About hip preservation

The primary benefit of hip preservation is pain relief from impingement symptoms, caused by abnormal wear on the hip joint. Although prevention of long-term arthritic changes are unproven at this point, eliminating impingement and reducing articular cartilage damage is thought to therefore reduce the risk of future osteoarthritis.

Who should have this surgery?

Anyone with appropriate symptoms who is healthy enough for surgery is a potential candidate. Age is not an issue, but with increasing age comes an increased chance of arthritic change, which will reduce improvement from the surgery. The best candidates are people with hip or groin pain who have not found success with nonoperative treatments such as rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, activity modification and corticosteroid injections, and who do not have significant arthritic changes on imaging.

What are the symptoms of someone suffering from hip pain?

Typically, anterior hip pain or groin pain is exacerbated by these activities:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Sitting
  • Extended standing
  • Other types of strenuous activities

Why have hip preservation surgery?

Hip impingement frequently leads to tears of a hip cartilage called the acetabular labrum. Once a labral tear occurs, hip pain will frequently increase. As the femur and hip socket bones "bump" or "impinge," the torn labral cartilage is pinched and pain occurs. The main goals of the surgery are to repair the torn labral cartilage and resect some of the impinging boney prominences that lead to pain and labral tearing.

What does the surgery entail?

This type of surgery is done on an outpatient basis and is arthroscopic, meaning a small camera system is used through small incisions to do the surgery in the hip joint. The bone may be resected and the labral tear repaired with advanced arthroscopic instrumentation, all while watching on a video monitor in the operating room.

What is the typical recovery time?

The recovery time varies from person to person but averages from 6 to 12 months. Most of the preoperative pain will be alleviated in the first three months, but patients may continue to improve for even one to two years after surgery. On average, most patients return to sports and exercise around six months after the procedure, although more minor forms of exercise may be started much sooner.

Is this better or different than a hip replacement? If so, how?

Hip replacements are for osteoarthritis. Hip preservation surgery is for hip pain related to impingement and other nonarthritic conditions. If a significant amount of arthritis is present, hip arthroscopy is only helpful in a very select few cases, but generally it is not recommended. Just because a patient is older does not mean the hip is arthritic and the only solution is hip replacement. Patients experiencing hip pain should have X-rays and other imaging performed to determine the best treatment option.

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