What is the Hip Labrum?
The labrum is a type of cartilage that surrounds and covers the rim of the hip socket (known as the acetabulum). The labrum exists to provide stability to the hip joint and creates a seal to help keep joint fluid inside the hip. Damage to the labrum can be a major source of hip pain and weakness for athletes. Dr. Boykin specializes in the treatment of hip labral tears for patients in Asheville, Arden, Fletcher and surrounding communities.
The labrum can become injured or torn because of a traumatic, acute injury (such as a hip dislocation or subluxation), or through a degenerative process of chronic tearing resulting from years of repetitive use and activity. Patients with underlying femoroacetabular impingement are thought to have a higher risk of sustaining labral tears because of the abnormalities in their bone.
Treatment for a Hip Labral Tear
If conservative measures do not cause the symptoms to subside over a specified period of time, Dr. Boykin will treat the injury using an arthroscopic surgical approach. This treatment for labral tears has advanced in recent years and is becoming increasingly common, yielding positive results for many patients, including high level athletes.
Hip Labral Repair Overview
During this procedure, Dr. Boykin will use a camera and small instruments to enter the hip and view the labral tear and surrounding structures. Treatment for the actual tear will involve shaving and smoothing out the torn portion of the labrum (debridement) and reattaching the healthy segments with strong sutures (repair). In cases associated with FAI, Dr. Boykin will also perform a femoroplasty and/or acetabuloplasty to protect the labral repair and prevent further damage.
Some labral tears will be larger and more complex in nature. These injuries may also show cartilage damage along with the tear. For these repairs, Dr. Boykin will use labral fixation surgery using a labral repair system of specialized sutures and bioabsorbable anchors that have been developed specifically for the hip. He will repair the damaged labrum and secure it with these tools to the base of the acetabulum. In cases where the labrum is so severely damaged or degenerated that it is unable to be repaired, Dr. Boykin may perform labral reconstruction surgery using a graft either from the patient or from a cadaver to reconstruct the damaged labrum. The goal of labral repair or reconstruction surgery is to restore the functional anatomy of the native labrum, restore the normal biomechanics of the hip, and prevent further damage to the articular cartilage.
Recovery Following Hip Labral Repair
Following arthroscopic surgery, the patient will be placed into a brace and given a strict protocol for rehabilitation and physical therapy as set forth by Dr. Boykin. Depending on the exact nature of the surgery, and complexity of the injury, most athletes are able to return to sports within 4-6 months following the procedure. Dr. Boykin will provide each patient with a specific plan for rehab that will involve week-by-week rehabilitation exercises and a set of recommended protocols which are essential for recovery.
For additional information on the treatment for labral tears of the hip or to learn more about hip arthroscopy, please contact the office of Dr. Robert Boykin, orthopedic hip specialist serving patients in Asheville, Arden, Fletcher and surrounding North Carolina communities.