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Life in Motion

Hip Preservation: Joint Replacement May Not Be Your Only Option

Joint Health

Problems with the hip joint are common, with more than 332,0001 total hip replacement procedures performed in the United States every year. However, for some people, repairing the hip and preserving their natural joint is a better treatment option than total joint replacement.

Thomas Wuerz, MD, MSc, MS, explains that hip preservation encompasses a variety of non-surgical treatments and surgical procedures designed to reverse or slow the degenerative disease process and the need for hip replacement. The goal is to alleviate pain and optimize current hip function, allowing people to continue participating in an active life. One procedure included in hip preservation is hip arthroscopy.

Arthroscopic hip surgery, or hip arthroscopy, allows orthopedic surgeons to visualize and repair a variety of hip problems. This minimally invasive procedure requires only small incisions to be made in the hip area and can be effective in treating a variety of non-arthritic hip conditions.

In an arthroscopic examination, a small incision (about the size of a buttonhole) will be made to insert the arthroscope. The pencil-sized arthroscope contains a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint, as well as a tiny video camera which allows the surgeon to see the various areas of your hip including your cartilage and ligaments. A second or third small incision is made for using the instruments to treat the hip problems. The surgeon can determine the amount or type of injury and then repair or correct the problem, if it is necessary.

Some of the most common conditions our Hip Preservation specialists treat with hip arthroscopy include Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) and Labral Tears and Chondral Lesions in the Hip.

Hip preservation at NEBH is designed for patients ages 15 and older (typically up to 55 years) who have hip pain but do not have moderate to severe arthritis. Some patients may present with pain in the hip area, but the pain is actually not from the joint itself but caused by issues in surrounding muscles, tendons or nerves in the spine, or even from abdominal problems. Therefore, there may be referrals required to other specialists for further assessment or treatment.

To make an appointment with a hip preservation specialist at NEBH, call 617-754-5360.

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