Hip Labrum Surgery Results: Can Injections Replace Surgery?

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hip labrum surgery results

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.

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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