The socket (acetabulum) of the hip joint is lined by an important ring of fibrocartilage – the labrum. The labrum is an important structure; it provides stability to the hip, lubricates the hip and also maintains a negative suction seal. Labral tears may lead to many different symptoms, such as groin pain and catching. In those patients that do not improve with non-surgical treatment, Dr. Welch may recommend surgical intervention.
If surgery is necessary, Dr. Welch usually recommends an arthroscopic approach to the hip using two or three small incisions. During surgery, Dr. Welch introduces a camera into the hip through one incision and instruments into the hip though the other incisions.
Dr. Welch performs labral reconstruction for patients who have very extensive labral damage. If the labrum is too damaged, it no longer functions appropriately. During labral reconstruction, Dr. Welch measures the length of the damaged labrum and then shapes a donor labrum to match the damaged area. Dr. Welch then introduces the donor labrum into the hip and secures it to the patient’s hip socket (using suture anchors) where the patient’s native labrum is damaged. The goal of labral reconstruction with a graft is to restore the functional anatomy of the labrum, restore the normal biomechanics of the hip, and prevent future damage to the articular cartilage in the hip.
Following surgery, Dr. Welch recommends a guided physical therapy program with a licensed physical therapist. Early motion following surgery is very important, and Dr. Welch recommends that each patient either use a stationary bike or a continuous passive motion machine daily. Dr. Welch also recommends limited weight bearing and crutch use for 4-6 weeks after surgery. Dr. Welch may also recommend the use of a brace to help protect the hip.
Following surgery, Dr. Welch prescribes appropriate pain medication as well as an anti-inflammatory medication. Anti-inflammatory medication (such as Naprosyn) is important because it can help eliminate pain and also may prevent the formation of abnormal bone (heterotopic ossification).