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What is Hip Labral Repair?

Hip Labral Repair

Hip labral repair is a surgical procedure to treat hip labral tears. A hip labral tear is a partial or complete rupture of the hip labrum, a ring of fibrous cartilaginous tissue that surrounds the socket of the hip joint. These tears are most commonly seen in athletes involved in high-impact sports such as ice hockey, soccer, and football and can also occur due to traumatic injury or degenerative conditions. 

Anatomy of Hip Labrum

The hip labrum is a fibrocartilaginous tissue lining the socket of the hip joint. It acts as a shock absorber, lubricates the joint, deepens the socket to provide stability to the hip, and helps in distributing the pressure equally on the hip joint. The labrum holds the femoral head in place and prevents side to side or vertical movement of the femoral head within the joint. 

Causes of Hip Labral Tear

Causes for hip labral tears include:

  • Physical trauma
  • Arthritis
  • Hip hypermobility
  • Dysplasia
  • Femoroacetabular impingement
  • Hip degeneration
  • Hip dislocation 
  • Hip subluxation

Indications for Hip Labral Repair

Minor hip labral tears may be treated with non-surgical options such as medications, rest, and physical therapy. Your doctor will recommend surgery for hip labral repair if you have persistent pain in the hip with weight-bearing, and restricted range of motion; and you have adequate labral tissue available to perform the repair.

Preparation for Hip Labral Repair

In preparation for the surgery you should: 

  • Inform your doctor about all your medications and supplements as certain medications may have to be stopped 1 week before surgery to avoid the risk of bleeding.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco 24 hours before surgery.
  • Stop eating and drinking from midnight on the day before the surgery.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery.

Procedure of Hip Labral Repair

This is a minimally invasive procedure in which your doctor will make small incisions and will insert a long thin flexible tube (arthroscope) with a camera inside the hip joint. This will produce images that help your doctor to view the inside of the hip. A sterile solution will then be pumped into the hip joint to improve visualization and expand the joint so your surgeon will have more room to repair the labral tear. Specialized instruments will then be inserted to remove the damaged tissue and repair the torn labrum or identify the torn area and attach it to the acetabulum (hip socket). The arthroscope and instruments are then removed and the incision is closed. 

Post-Surgical Recovery after Hip Labral Repair

Your doctor will advise you to take certain precautions to promote a faster recovery and prevent complications. These include

  • Taking pain medications for 3 to 4 days
  • Using crutches for up to 2-4 weeks
  • Performing physical therapy exercises to restore hip function and improve flexibility
  • Avoiding prolonged sitting 
  • Avoiding lifting heavy weights and performing strenuous activities

Risks and Complications of Hip Labral Repair

The risk of complications associated with hip labral repair surgery include

  • Infection
  • Failure to obtain pain relief
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Nerve damage
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Arthroscopy Association of North America
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • South Carolina Orthopedic Association
  • Carolina Forest High School
  • Coastal Carolina