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 (similar to a bumper), 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 who 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 surgical instruments though the other incisions. Two common procedures performed for labral tears include labral repair and labral debridement.
Labral Repair is performed for patients who have a clean tear in the labrum. During surgery, Dr. Welch uses an instrument to pass sutures around the torn labrum and then secures the sutures down to the hip socket with suture anchors (medical screws). The goal of labral repair is to restore the normal function of the labrum and prevent further damage to the hip joint.
Labral Debridement is performed for patients who have a partially torn labrum with a complex pattern. Complex labral tears may not be amenable to labral repair. If the labrum cannot be repaired, Dr. Welch uses instruments to remove the damaged part of the labrum and cleans the edge of the remaining labrum (“debridement”).
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).