Hip Labral Surgery

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An Overview on Hip Labral Surgery

The labrum is the flexible, soft tissue surrounding and covering the rim of the hip socket, otherwise known as the acetabulum. This critical structure within the hip joint provides stability and distributes stress throughout the joint’s articular cartilage. A torn labrum can occur during athletic activities or from overuse to the hip. This hip injury can cause Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California patients to experience hip pain, weakness and a “catching” sensation. Orthopedic hip surgeon, Dr. Jervis Yau specializes in hip labral surgery to help return patients to sports and daily activities with improved pain and function.

The labrum can become torn from overuse, the natural aging process or acute injury, such as hip dislocation or subluxation. Athletes involved in sports that require forceful pivoting and rotation, such as soccer, football, water polo and hockey are at increased risk of experiencing a labral tear.

If a patient experiences a labral tear, Dr. Yau will begin treatment by confirming the diagnosis through medical review, physical examination, and diagnostic imaging including x-rays and MRI.

Initial torn labrum treatment commonly includes pain medications, rest, ice and a formal physical therapy rehabilitation program. If conservative measures do not alleviate pain and dysfunction, Dr. Yau may recommend an arthroscopic hip labral surgery.

Arthroscopic hip labral surgery begins through creating small incisions to insert an arthroscope and special instruments into the injured hip to assess damage.  Depending on the severity of the tear, the labrum will be trimmed and smoothed (debridement) or reattached with use of suture anchors (repair).

Labral repair involves placement of specialized suture anchors into the acetabular rim.  The sutures from these anchors are then used to repair and secure the torn labrum back down to the bone. Dr. Yau may consider labral reconstruction if the damaged labrum is severe and unable to be repaired. This technique requires the use of a soft tissue graft in order to restore the functional anatomy of the native labrum in hopes to delay progressive damage to the hip cartilage.

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Recovery and Rehabilitation Following Hip Labral Surgery

Dr. Yau will prescribe a strict set of rehabilitation protocol following surgical treatment. Typically, the patient will use crutches for a minimum of 3 weeks postop.  Physical therapy is initiated after surgery to begin early range of motion to prevent stiffness and followed by core and hip strengthening when weight bearing is allowed.

Hip Labral Surgery Recovery Time

Most patients can expect a return to athletic activities within 4-6 months after hip labral surgery.

For additional resources on torn labrum treatment, such as hip labral surgery, please contact the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California orthopedic office of hip surgeon Dr. Jervis Yau.

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