Hip Labral Repair Surgery: How Is It Performed?

Hip labral repair refers to a surgical procedure used to repair a torn labrum in the hip and reconstruct other structures that may have been causing the labral damage. Generally, orthopedic surgeons perform this procedure arthroscopically to minimize muscle damage and facilitate quick recovery.

Arthroscopic hip labral repair involves creating tiny incisions in the hip area to access the hip joint. These small incisions will serve as the entry point of very thin, specialized instruments used in the procedure, such as an arthroscope (tube with a fiber-optic camera).

The arthroscope provides a live video feed of the hip joint area, allowing the surgeon to see and navigate the target area. Your surgeon may debride the damaged tissue and fix the labral damage and other hip joint problems.

Read on below to learn more about hip labral damage and the procedure involved in treating such a condition.

How serious is a labral tear in the hip?

The labrum is a tough yet soft elastic cartilage that lines the outside of the hip joint’s acetabulum (socket). It acts as a seal that stabilizes and secures the ball of the femur (thighbone) inside the hip socket. Additionally, it is also an important structure that allows the hip to move freely and rotate in every direction.

Despite its tough structure, the hip labrum can still sustain damages as a result of physical trauma, overuse, and arthritic conditions. These can cause fraying and tears in the labrum, ranging from mild to severe (complete detachment of the labrum to the bone).

Labral tears, even mild ones, can be considered a serious condition since cartilages do not heal on their own without surgery. Its symptoms may be managed, but over time, a torn labrum can cause mobility problems and even lead to the development of osteoarthritis.

What does it feel like to have a torn hip labrum?

The symptoms of a hip labral tear may vary from person to person. It also depends on multiple factors, such as the severity of the tear and the cause of the injury. Some people with labral tears do not experience any signs or symptoms. While others may feel one or more of the following:

  • Hip pain that may get worse when doing something for too long, such as sitting, standing, and other activities.
  • Hip pain that may extend to the groin area or buttocks.
  • Hip tenderness, stiffness, and inflammation.
  • Clicking and locking sound or sensation in the hip area.
  • Unsteadiness and limited mobility

If left unaddressed, these symptoms may worsen over time, causing more discomfort with every movement.

When is surgery needed for hip labral tear?

For mild tears, doctors usually recommend non-surgical treatment options first, such as medications and physical therapy. However, hip arthroscopy surgery may be needed for severe tears and those not responding well with conservative techniques.  

What happens if you don’t fix a torn hip labrum?

Cartilages do not regenerate nor heal on their own. So if left untreated, a labral tear can cause mild to extreme discomfort, restricting you from performing your day-to-day activities. Furthermore, a torn hip labrum can lead to degenerative complications, such as osteoarthritis.

How to prepare before a hip labral repair surgery?

Arthroscopic hip labral surgery may be done on an outpatient basis, which means you can go home a few hours after the surgery. However, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure a safe and hassle-free recovery. Some of the important things to do before the surgery include:

  • Having someone to drive home from the surgery center. You should also arrange for a family caregiver to help you during the first few days of recovery.
  • Talk to your doctor and ask them in advance about the assistive devices you might need for your recovery, such as crutches.
  • Schedule your physical therapy session ahead of time.
  • Pay attention to the post-operative care instructions your doctor will provide.

Additionally, your doctor will also perform a health evaluation or order a series of laboratory tests to ensure your health before the operation.

What happens during the procedure?

Your surgeon or anesthesiologist will be the one to decide whether to administer regional or general anesthesia. Both options will provide you with a pain-free and comfortable procedure.

Your surgeon will place your leg in a traction for better hip joint access. Then, they will create 2-3 tiny incisions wherein specialized instruments will be inserted. A needle will also be inserted inside the hip joint to dispense fluid that will keep the joint open and accessible. 

Your surgeon will then perform the needed procedures (e.g., debridement, removal, repair) to fix your hip joint. Once done, your surgeon will suture the wound and close it using surgical tapes. 

How long does it take to recover from a hip labral tear surgery?

After your surgery, you may be transferred to a recovery room and spend an hour or two inside while a care team monitors your condition. Once the anesthesia wears off, you may be discharged and go home the same day. Here are some important details you need to know during the recovery phase:

  • It’s normal to feel pain and soreness in the hips right after the surgery. Your doctor will prescribe pain medications to manage this during your recovery period.
  • You will need to limit movement and activity for a few days until your hip strength has returned. 
  • You’ll need to start physical therapy as soon as possible. Your therapist may recommend you use a walker or crutches for 2 weeks.

Recovery may take at least six to eight weeks, depending on the type of procedures done. Some people may return to their normal activities after full recovery. But if there’s severe damage before the hip surgery, your doctor might require you to modify your activity and lifestyle.

How do you sleep after hip labrum surgery?

It’s vital to have an ample amount of rest and sleep during your recovery. However, you should also be careful not to move the affected hip or put too much weight on it. So, here are some tips on how you can safely take a good night’s rest during your recovery:

  • Sleep on your back, but avoid crossing or bending your legs and ankles.
  • Sleep on the non-operated side, then place a pillow between the legs.
  • Use a hip positioner brace to avoid reinjury while sleeping. 
raleigh orthopedic panther creek,

Where to find the best orthopaedic surgery center in the triangle?

At Orthopedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, we won’t let your injury stop you from having an active lifestyle. We will provide you with the proper consultation and highest quality of care and treatment that you deserve. 

Our surgery center is a partnership between UNC Rex, Raleigh Orthopedic, and Panther Creek UNC health. We are passionate about becoming North Carolina’s leading orthopedic center by providing superior patient and clinical care at a reduced cost. Contact us now to learn more about our services!

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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6715 McCrimmon Parkway
Suite 205 A 
Cary, NC 27519
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