Labral Tear Surgery
At Wake Forest Baptist Health, our orthopaedic specialists offer both non-operative and surgical treatment options for painful labral tears. If you require surgery, we perform minimally invasive hip arthroscopy. This advanced technique offers our patients less scarring, less pain and shorter recovery periods than open surgery.
What is a Labral Tear?
There are two types of cartilage in the hip: surface cartilage and labral cartilage. The labral cartilage runs along the rim of the socket. When torn, it is very painful. It is also harder to reach than other cartilage tears, because it is located deeper in the body and surrounded by muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Labral tears may be a few millimeters to a few centimeters in length. There are a few theories for why the labrum tears:
- The cartilage may be taking more pressure than normal due to the shape of the socket
- The labrum may be pinched inside the joint, causing it to get caught in between the ball and the socket as the hip joint moves
- The cartilage may be sheared off, causing a friction force, and the labrum fails
- Our tissues may become more susceptible to injury as we age
Labral Tear Symptoms
Many of our patients have experienced symptoms for years but received wrong diagnoses for their pain. A labral tear can be confused with many other sources of pain.
Common symptoms include:
- Back problems
- Disc problems
- Intra-pelvic problems
- Ovarian type pain symptoms
- Leg length discrepancy
Treatment Options for Labral Tears
At Wake Forest Baptist Health, we don’t push surgery as the only treatment possibility. Our non-operative treatments for labral tears include:
- Activity modification
- Medical pain management, such as anti-inflammatories
If your pain does not respond to non-operative treatments and is affecting your daily quality of life, your doctor may recommend surgery.
What Happens During Labral Tear Surgery?
Labral tear surgery is a type of hip arthroscopy. That means it is a minimally invasive procedure that only requires two incisions about the size of a dime. It is an outpatient surgery that takes only two to four hours.
Your surgeon will use an arthroscope – a tool with a light and video camera – to locate the labral tear. Using tiny surgical instruments that allow precise movements, your doctor will repair the tear and remove any damaged parts of the hip. If there is too much abnormal rubbing inside the joint, your surgeon will also change the shape of the bone to allow the hip to have more natural motion.
Recovery time after surgery is three to four months, depending on the extent of the work.