Arthroscopic Hip Labral Repair

Indications for Hip Arthroscopy

Since the early 20th century, when hip arthroscopy was regarded as being almost impossible to undertake, the procedure has developed in leaps and bounds. Presently there are many reasons why hip arthroscopy may be recommended. Perhaps the two most common current indications for hip arthroscopy include the presence of symptomatic FAI or an acetabular labral tear, or both.

Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)

FAI (or hip impingement) is a condition affecting the hip joint and is characterized by abnormal contact between the femoral head (hip ball) and the rim of the acetabulum (hip socket) leading to damage to the articular cartilage (lining) in the acetabulum, or to the labrum of the hip, or both. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the acetabulum. Damage to the labrum and/or articular cartilage will likely cause pain. An abnormality in the shape of the femoral head or acetabulum, or both, may cause FAI. Activities that involve recurrent hip motion can increase the frequency of this abnormal contact.

FAI can affect all age groups from the early teens to throughout adult life, and is being increasingly recognized as one of the predisposing factors for osteoarthritis of the hip. While hip arthroscopy may reduce the chance of developing osteoarthritis, it does not eliminate it. Hip arthroscopy can be used to reshape the socket and/or the femoral head to prevent impingement, and aims to decrease the risk of developing osteoarthritis, as well relieving current painful symptoms.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia, or a shallow acetabulum (socket), can increase the stress on the acetabular cartilage and labrum with regular or increased activities. With a shallow socket, some of the force that would normally be placed on the socket is transferred to the labrum, which can lead to a labral tear. In cases of mild or borderline dysplasia, repairing the labrum can relieve the painful symptoms within the hip with arthroscopy. However, it does not deepen the socket. A shallow socket can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the hip. The goal of a hip arthroscopy would be relieving the current painful symptoms in the hip. It will not eliminate the risk of developing arthritis. In cases of advanced dysplasia, larger reconstructive surgeries (like a periacetabular osteotomy or PAO) is an option to increase the coverage.

Hip dysplasia and hip impingement are opposite ends of a spectrum (over-coverage versus under-coverage). Please check with me if you are unsure about your underlying diagnosis.

Acetabular Labral Tears

The labrum, which surrounds the acetabulum, can be partially damaged or torn. This is usually associated with FAI, but not always so. It can also occur with hip dysplasia (a shallow hip socket), after an injury or trauma, or even from over-use. With hip arthroscopy, the labrum can be either repaired, or in some cases debrided (remove the damaged tissue only). Occasionally a labrum can also be reconstructed with a graft. MRI and/or CT scans usually, but not always, reveal a labral tear.

Alternative Treatment Options

Surgery is the last option when all conservative management fails. However, other treatments are available. These vary from no treatment, just living with the condition, to physical therapy exercises, medication or injections.

Stem Cell Treatments

Stem cells are used in regenerative medicine to repair diseased or damaged tissues. While stem cell or PRP injections may not heal your hip on their own, there is emerging evidence that it can be used to augment and strengthen your surgical repair.

These treatments can be done during your surgery. Unfortunately, they are currently not covered by insurance. Please contact us if you would like more information or would like to include this with your surgery.

How Do I Schedule an Initial Appointment With Dr. Gombera?

Dr. Gombera's office welcomes new patients looking for relief from hip discomfort in the Houston, Cypress and Beaumont areas.

Dr. Gombera has experience working with broad range of people from less active patients to professional athletes. Anyone can get hip treatment from our office, no matter if they need to get back on the field or get back to work. To schedule a visit online, use our online booking tool , or contact us at (713) 794-3457. We look forward to helping you find a solution to your hip pain.



American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Arthroscopy Association of North America american shoulder and elbow society international society for hip arthroscopy