Arthroscopic Hip Labral Reconstruction
What is arthroscopic hip labral reconstruction?
Arthroscopic hip labral reconstruction is surgery to address an injury to the labrum, the cuff of cartilage that surrounds the acetabulum (hip socket). In some cases, the labrum is irreparable. In those cases, replacing the damaged tissue is important for the overall health of the joint. Reconstruction can utilize your own tissue (autograft) or cadaveric tissue (allograft). Your surgeon will discuss with you the risks and benefits of both.
In this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon makes several small incisions around the hip joint and inserts a narrow fiber optic scope (called an arthroscope) to examine the condition of the labrum. Tiny instruments are used to remove the frayed edges or repair torn tissue by sewing it back together.
Arthroscopic repair of labral injuries allows surgeons a full view of the hip without having to cut through nerves or muscles. Patients experience less pain and blood loss, fewer complications and a faster recovery. The result is a more balanced, stable repair that helps restore full function.
The hip joint lies between the femur (thighbone) and the pelvis, surrounded by protective muscle and cushioned by rubbery cartilage. It is the largest ball-and-socket joint in the body. The ball is the femoral head. The socket is the acetabulum, a concave depression in the lower side of the pelvis.
A hip labral tear is an injury to the ring of soft elastic tissue, called the labrum, which surrounds the acetabulum. The labrum provides stability to the hip joint. It helps keep the head of the femur in place and protects the joint surface. The labrum is susceptible to injury with trauma to the hip joint. It also becomes more brittle with age, and can fray and tear as part of the aging process.
When is surgery recommended?
Not all hip labral tears require surgery. Treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms. Some tears respond well to conservative measures including rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy or cortisone injections. If these non-operative options fail to alleviate pain and inflammation, arthroscopic surgery to repair or reconstruct the torn labrum may be necessary.
What is the recovery time?
Because hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, the typical recovery period is weeks rather than months. Rehabilitation begins immediately after surgery and includes special exercises to restore range of motion, strength and flexibility in the hip. Most patients return to normal activities within a few weeks. For athletes, full return to sports may take four to six months.