Arthroscopic Labral Reconstruction

Arthroscopic Labral Reconstruction

What is Arthroscopic Labral Reconstruction of the Hip?

The hip is a ball and socket joint with a hard-rubbery “O-ring” known as the labrum that provides stability and seals the hip joint. Preservation of the hip labrum has been increasingly identified as vital to preservation of the hip joint, maintenance of an active lifestyle and avoidance of hip replacement.  In the early years of hip arthroscopy, our abilities were limited to removal of damaged labral tissue which was an excellent short-term solution but its results did not stand up to longer term improvement.  Hip arthroscopists began to innovate methods of repairing rather than removing the labrum.  This requires the labral tissue to be healthy with a well-maintained blood supply; when these factors are favorable, repair of the acetabular (hip socket) labrum is typically highly successful.

Dr. Silas and other hip surgeons now recognize a subset of patients who have little arthritis but very poor labral tissue.  In these patients, simple removal of the labrum could accelerate the development of arthritis but the tissue is too poor to perform an adequate repair.  In fact, simple removal of labral tissue is a leading cause of failed hip arthroscopy–it is also one of the most common reasons patients are referred to her. She now is one of the few surgeons in Michigan to preserve the hip joint by way of a reconstruction of the labrum.  

What type of surgery is Labral Reconstruction?

In these procedures, donor tissue is fashioned into a labrum and inserted and secured to the hip socket arthroscopically. This is an outpatient surgery done through small, arthroscopic incisions.  The recovery requires several weeks of crutches and full recovery takes several months but the restoration of normal hip anatomy in those with poor labral tissue can add years to the lifespan of the hip joint.

Am I a candidate for Labral Reconstruction of the Hip?

For simpler tears of the labrum, repair of your native labrum may be the best option.  However, if your tissue is poor, labral reconstruction is an excellent option.  Frequently, the decision to repair or reconstruct is an intraoperative decision.  Fortunately Dr. Silas is one of the few hip surgeons in Michigan performing both types of procedures and she will perform whichever option will be best for the longterm health of your hip.

Our goal with all patients is to preserve their hip joint. In some situations the severity of arthritis makes this impossible. For these patients, a total hip replacement is an excellent option for eliminating pain and restoring function.