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“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” — it’s an odd expression, to be sure, but one that expertly conveys the idea that, all too often, the good can be sacrificed along with the bad. We feel this is an apt quote to describe why we favor hip preservation over hip replacement as part of our efforts to preserve as much of your natural musculoskeletal structure as possible while fixing only what needs to be fixed.
While 450,000 people undergo hip replacement surgeries each year in the United States, Dr. Brian White at Western Orthopaedics feels that hip preservation is often the better approach, whenever possible.
In this month’s blog post, we focus on two such hip preservation techniques — the Ganz osteotomy and labral repair — and how these procedures combined can stabilize your hip long into the future.
Your hips are ball-and-socket joints and rely on the ball fitting snugly inside the socket for optimal and pain-free function. With hip dysplasia, this joint isn’t properly formed when you’re born. Depending upon the degree of the mechanical problem, it can be problematic right from the start or it may not lead to issues until you’re much older.
When you have an issue like hip dysplasia, the socket doesn’t completely cover the bone, which not only leads to instability, but the mechanical problem can speed up deterioration of your hip joint.
Left untreated, problems like hip dysplasia can lead to collateral damage, such as a tear in the labrum, which is the band of tissue that surrounds the edge of the hip socket, forming a seal.
Whether you’re dealing with hip dysplasia alone or a labrum tear and hip dysplasia together, there is a way to tackle both issues while preserving your overall hip joint.
If you have a tear in your labrum, we focus first on this issue. Using minimally invasive techniques, Dr. White goes in and makes the necessary repairs to your labrum and reshapes the ball in a way that will prevent further damage to this tissue.
If your labrum can’t support a repair, Dr. White can reconstruct the connective tissue using allografts (donor tissues).
About a week after Dr. White performs the labral repair or reconstruction, he calls upon Dr. Presley Swann to perform the Ganz osteotomy.
With a Ganz osteotomy, Dr. Swann accesses your hip through a 4- to 8-inch incision on the front of your hip, taking care to avoid cutting into muscles.
Once Dr. Swann has access to your hip, he makes cuts in the three bones that surround the cup (socket) — your ilium, ischium, and pubis bones. These cuts free the portion of bone that contains the cup, allowing Dr. Swann to reposition the socket over the head of the femur.
After Dr. Swann rotates the cup into the right position, he secures the bone in place with screws.
After both procedures, you won’t be able to bear weight on the hip for about six weeks, at which point we have you embark on a rigorous physical therapy program.
As you progress, you’ll gain strength and become increasingly active. Please note that recovery can take 6 months to a year before you can enjoy full use of your hip.
Your patience, however, is rewarded, because not only can you move your hip without pain, but 80% of patients who undergo these procedures won’t ever need a hip replacement. For those who do need a hip replacement, it’s typically later in life and as a result of normal wear and tear in the joint.
If you want to learn more about preserving your hip through labral reconstruction and a Ganz osteotomy, contact one of our offices in Arvada or Denver, Colorado, to set up a consultation.