After years of life it is only natural that ligaments and tissues break down and tear. The hip labrum is no exception to that rule. The frequency of hip arthroscopy, the surgery generally prescribed for a patient with a hip labral tear, has increased dramatically over the past decade. The success rate of the surgery is under some scrutiny as many physicians are quick to prescribe the surgery, even when it may not be necessary.
In order to determine if you should get surgery there are a number of things you should discuss with your healthcare professional. Make sure that you educate yourself and do not be afraid to ask questions or question their judgement. Let’s jump into the specifics of hip labrums and hip labral tears.
What is a Hip Labrum?
The hip labrum is the tissue that covers the socket in a hip. Naturally, this tissue is rather sensitive and can easily tear. There are a wide variety of issues that can cause the tissue to tear, such as a car accident or sports.
Hip labrum tears are quite common and they take a long time to diagnosis. Patients frequently have to see multiple health care providers over a two year period just to get an accurate diagnosis. Many patients actually do not experience any hip pain, which is a big reason why the diagnosis is difficult to make. The pain and injury rarely go away on their own and patients are forced to take action.
One reason why pain generally persists with the hip labral is the lack of blood supply to the cartilage. This is why the hip labral has issues healing on its own and some kind of intervention is necessary. There are a few different methods that patients can pursue in order to fix the injury.
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Physical therapy can be a successful option for patients who are looking to avoid surgery. There have been several studies that have showcased hip labral surgery can be avoided depending on the severity of the injury, age of the patient, and physical therapy program. That is great news depending on what level of injury a patient sustains.
The issue is that physical therapy does not help the hip labrum heal. It only strengthens the tissue and muscles around the area. This could lead to other areas taking on the extra load that the hip labrum would normally absorb. Even though patients may not receive hip labrum surgery, they may get other surgery because of the exacerbated problems. The root of the problem is never addressed with physical therapy.
Cortisone shots are another method that has been known to help alleviate pain. They can help reduce inflammation in the joint. Inflammation is not the only problem that the hip labrum is experiencing though. Cortisone shots can actually make the problem even worse. There were a few studies that show the cartilage in the joint actually decreases after a cortisone shot.
Many physicians recommend surgery when they evaluate a patient who has experienced a hip labral tear. In many cases, surgery may not be necessary depending on the severity of the injury. The cost and recovery and time of hip arthroscopy is also a real concern for many patients. Patients do not want to cover any expensive cost and recover from the surgery. The jury is still out on how successful hip arthroscopy is. There are a lot of studies underway around the world to evaluate the effectiveness of th surgery.
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A recent study on 100 military recruits with hip labral tears was performed to see how surgery was working. The group was split into two, with one group receiving surgical treatment and the other receiving non-surgical treatment. The patients were reveulated two years after receiving their respective treatments. There was no significant difference between the two groups. The patients who received surgery did not fare any better than the ones who did not receive surgery.
There is research that says some patients do worse in the long run after they had a hip arthroscopy. In one study more than 17% of the patients who received the surgery had to receive an additional surgery. Surgery may not be completely out of the picture when it comes to hip labral surgery.
Surgery and Stem Cells Combined
There have been a few studies that have looked into utilizing both surgery and stem cell therapy to help patients heal. One study in particular evaluated the effectiveness of performing the hip arthroscopy and then administering stem cell therapy. 29 patients received hip arthroscopy and then three mesenchymal stem cells injections were administered four to six weeks after the surgery.
Patient progress was evaluated using a cumulative score to determine how successful the procedure was. Incredibly after two years, all of the patient’s scores increased. The effects of the stem cell therapy were clear in helping patients who received surgery recover. This method could be the best option for patients where stem cell therapy would not heal the original injury. Patients can enjoy the best of both worlds to receive treatment that is perfect for them.
Many healthcare providers see stem cell therapy as the enemy when it can be used as a powerful tool to aid in patient recovery. Hip labral surgery may be perfect for your individual needs, but there are many more patients that receive the surgery when it would not benefit them. Explore all of your options before committing to the intensive surgical procedure.