Hip Labrum Surgery Results: Can Injections Replace Surgery?

Can you get hip labrum surgery results without the surgery? We’ve been using precise platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections for hip labral tears for many years with promising outcomes. This data has been reported as part of the larger research paper we recently published on hip arthritis. However, having other doctors validating the concept is what science is all about. Another author has just presented some promising research that labral tears respond well to PRP injections.

Medical illustration anatomy of a healthy human hip joint showing the frontal section of hip joint


First, the hip labrum is the lip on the hip socket that helps to stabilize the ball in the socket of this joint. It can become torn and the number of surgeries for these labral tears has exploded. However, labral tear surgery is crazy aggressive. First, about 60-80 pounds of traction is applied to the hip to open the joint enough to get tools inside. This causes the large femoral nerve that supplies the quidriceps muscle to lose the ability to conduct signals due to this traction, so that nerve has to be carefully monitored to avoid permanent nerve damage. Finally, despite this becoming a common surgery, we have no clear evidence that it works. In addition, I’ve already blogged on some big complications from labral repair surgery. 

The most recent research on injections to avoid hip labral tear surgery was reported at the 2015 meeting of the Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP). The small study found that PRP injections placed under ultrasound guidance could reduce pain in as little as two weeks in labral tear patients. This approach, as we have always preached, reduces down time and is much, much less invasive than surgery.

The upshot? Why would you want an invasive hip arthroscopy surgery to repair your labrum when a PRP or stem cell shot could get the same results with less downtime and less risk? As I have always discussed, “Interventional Orthopedics” (physicians using precise platelet and stem cell injections to replace more and more traditional orthopedic surgeries) is finally becoming “a thing”!

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.