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Hip Hip Hooray for Hip Arthroscopy: April 17, 2012

Mention labral tear and few people know what you’re speaking about, but the associated groin pain is something many can relate to.

“It’s typically a sharp pain right in the groin and it’s worse with sitting for a long time in a flexed position of the hip and the internal external rotation of the hip itself can illicit this pain,” says Dr. Francesca Swartz, an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

The labrum lines the hip socket and acts as a cushion between the ball and socket of the hip joint when it’s in a flexed position and holds the thighbone in place. Unlike most hip conditions that show up in later years, patients tend to be younger.

“Patients that I see are primarily younger, 20, 30 year old males and a little older 30, 40 year old for the females is a typical age range,” says Dr. Swartz.

It’s only been the last 10 to 15 years that doctors were able to pinpoint the cause of pain. Now they diagnose it early using specialized MRI and x-rays. It may spare patients from undergoing major hip surgery.

“Historically these procedures were all done using open technique. It’s a big incision, big dissection. Now we can give them the same benefit with smaller incisions,” says Dr. Swartz.

Surgeons now use an arthroscopic approach with a camera and small instruments introduced through a few small holes. They are able to go in and repair the tear.

“Much like we do a meniscal tear where we use a combination of anchors and sutures and we repair the tissue right back down to the bone,” says Dr. Swartz.

Patients can be up and moving the same day. This less invasive technique shaves full recovery time from months to weeks.