Treating A Labral Tear

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint where the femur fits into the socket of the pelvis. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket and helps provide stability to the joint. This cartilage is also an essential shock absorber and lubricant during hip joint movement. However, as with most other joints of the body, the labrum may also experience injuries, such as tears. Labral tears in the acetabular labrum of the hip are a common injury, especially in young, active adults. Such damage may be due to trauma, repetitive motions, or structural abnormalities in the hip joint. Labral tears often cause significant hip pain and dysfunction, making a long-term treatment plan an important requirement.

Is self-healing possible?

Labral hip tears cannot heal naturally. This is due to the poor blood supply and lack of nerve and lymphatic systems in the labrum, which impedes any self-healing abilities. Non-surgical treatments such as rest, physical therapy (PT), and pain management may be recommended for mild cases of labral tears. These treatments aim to reduce pain and improve hip joint function but cannot directly repair the torn labrum. To sufficiently fix the hip tear, surgery is required.

Surgical intervention for labral tears

In cases where conservative treatment does not lead to satisfactory improvement of symptoms or where the labral tear is more severe, surgical intervention may be considered. Hip arthroscopic surgery is a viable option for treating labral tears. Thanks to minimally invasive surgery (MIS), a hip repair can happen on an outpatient basis. In other words, the patient can leave on the same day. The MIS approach also reduces scarring and speeds up recovery.

Arthroscopic repair

Hip arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting a small camera, called an arthroscope, into the hip joint. The arthroscope allows the surgeon to visualize the inside of the hip joint and assess the extent of the labral tear. During hip arthroscopic surgery, the surgeon makes small incisions and inserts specialized instruments to repair the torn labrum. The specific surgical technique used will depend on the location and severity of the labral tear. The procedure may take 2 or more hours and has an 88% success rate.

Recovering from hip surgery

After MIS is performed to treat the labral tear, patients will typically undergo a period of rehabilitation and physical therapy. The goal of rehabilitation is to restore strength, range of motion (ROM), and function in the hip joint. This may involve exercises to improve hip stability, flexibility, and muscle strength. Additionally, PT can help patients regain a regular gait pattern and address any compensatory movements that may have developed due to the labral tear.

A better hip is possible

If a person is experiencing persistent hip pain and limitations in hip joint function due to a labral tear, surgery can help. Arthroscopy is especially useful if conservative treatments have not provided sufficient relief. Advances in hip arthroscopic techniques have enabled patients with labral tears to experience shorter recovery times while maintaining excellent outcomes. These advances have made hip arthroscopic surgery an attractive option for patients seeking long-term relief.