Chondroplasty & Hip Microfracture

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An Overview on Chondroplasty & Hip Microfracture

The joints throughout the human body experience a significant amount of stress each day. The hip joint can become injured during a traumatic event associated with athletic activities, a fall or automobile accident, or through normal wear and tear and the natural aging process. While many hip injuries tend to heal, articular cartilage is one structure that does not heal well on its own. Because of this, Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic hip surgeon serving the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California communities, offers minimally invasive procedures known as chondroplasty and microfracture in certain cases of articular cartilage damage. Both treatments are designed to preserve and restore damaged articular cartilage within the hip joint.

Articular cartilage is a smooth, white substance found at the ends of each bone in the hip joint and is responsible for providing a fluid, pain-free gliding motion for the joint. If articular cartilage becomes damaged, or if it begins to deteriorate from overuse or wear and tear, the cartilage becomes frayed and rough. The frayed edges may catch in the joint causing pain and other troublesome symptoms. Over time, the cartilage damage may leave exposed bone if the injury progresses. This results in grinding of the bones with patients experiencing hip pain, stiffness and swelling.

Joint Preservation Procedures

Over the years, orthopedic surgeons have advanced the field of joint preservation and cartilage restoration. Surgical procedures, such as chondroplasty and hip microfracture, were developed to help restore damaged cartilage to help improve hip pain and function.

Hip Chondroplasty

Dr. Yau commonly performs chondroplasty in patients with damaged articular cartilage without exposed bony surfaces. This procedure helps smooth out damaged, irregular shaped articular cartilage and removes frayed pieces of cartilage. This provides a smoother gliding surface for the hip joint.

Hip Microfracture

Dr. Yau performs hip microfracture surgery in patients with exposed bone from loss of cartilage with healthy surrounding cartilage. Hip microfracture is designed to allow bone marrow cells and blood supply to the damaged area in order to generate a fibrocartilage scar to fill in the defect. During the procedure, Dr. Yau will create small holes in the area of exposed bone to stimulate the healing response.

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Recovery and Rehabilitation Following Chondroplasty and Hip Microfracture

The rehabilitation process is quite different for chondroplasty and hip microfracture. Following chondroplasty, patients are encouraged to utilize crutches for approximately three weeks and then allowed to weight bear as tolerated. After hip microfracture, patients are encouraged to avoid full weight bearing for 6-8 weeks so the cartilage has a healthy, protected environment to fill in. After both chondroplasty and hip microfracture, Dr. Yau will encourage early range of motion exercises with a structured physical therapy program.

Chondroplasty and Hip Microfracture Recovery Time

Recovery time after chondroplasty and hip microfracture varies for each patient depending on injury severity and the procedure performed. Many patients can expect a full return to athletic activities within three months following chondroplasty while many patients can expect a full return to athletic activities in 4-6 months following hip microfracture.

For more information on chondroplasty, or to learn more about hip microfracture, please contact the office of Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic hip surgeon serving the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California area.

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