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Hip fix for younger patients

11:46 PM, Feb 5, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND --  Nicole Sharp is a pediatric nurse at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.  That means she's on her feet for long hours. She'd also been an avid runner, hiker and skier.  But one day while taking off her boots, she felt a twinging, shooting pain go through her hip.

"It felt like a toothache," Nicole says.

The pain lasted for months until she saw a doctor who diagnosed her with a tear of the labrum, the cartilage that lines the rim of the hip joint.  She went through physical therapy and had some relief, but eventually the pain would return.

Nicole was a cheerleader in high school and remembers a time when she hurt her hip.  She's not sure if that's when all the trouble actually started, but chances are good it might have been.

Nicole knew her hip would eventually require surgery, but hip surgery was invasive and recovery was long.  Then she met Dr. Michael Salata, an Orthopaedic Surgeon at UH Case Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Dr. Salata found Nicole also had a femoral acetabular impingement (FAI). With FAI, the ball and socket of the hip don't connect properly, rub against each other and damage the joint.

He determined Nicole would be a good candidate for a hip arthroscopy.  A surgical procedure that requires three small incisions.  Dr. Salata would repair the labrum and shave the extra bone on Nicole's femur, that was the actual cause of the tear.

It took about a month of recovery before Nicole would walk without crutches or a hip brace, but her pain was gone.  Not only does hip arthroscopy provide pain relief and allow patients to continue their active lifestyles, it may also prevent future damage.

"We know that FAI can lead to the development of arthritis in the hip at a young age - as young as your late 30s or early 40s," Dr. Salata says.

"Studies are still ongoing, but we believe that by doing the surgery and removing the impingement we may also be preserving the hip and either delaying or preventing the onset of arthritis in the hip joint."  

For more information on Hip Arthroscopy call 1-866-UH4-CARE for a consultation.


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