Carmel, NY (PRWEB) June 14, 2012
The National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin diseases reports more than 231,000 hip replacement operations each year in the United States. But are all of these surgeries necessary and what other alternatives are available for people suffering with hip pain?
“Hip arthroscopy is a less invasive outpatient procedure that may be a viable alternative to open surgery for some patients,” notes Dr. Scott Levin, leading sports medicine doctor with Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group. Dr. Levin details some of the benefits: Because the incisions are so small, arthroscopy is usually less painful, less costly, and affords a quicker recovery time than open surgery. It can decrease soft tissue trauma and blood loss, resulting in a faster recovery period compared to a more invasive open surgery. Plus, the majority of scientific studies found the rate of complications to be less than five percent.
The procedure allows a doctor to look at the inside of a joint and the surrounding soft tissue through a thin viewing instrument called an arthroscope. It can be used to diagnose a joint problem, perform surgery that repairs a joint problem, remove a loose or foreign body, or monitor a disease or the effectiveness of a treatment.
Little pain and much gain
According to Dr. Levin, arthroscopy may even eliminate or at least postpone the need for hip replacement surgery. Current metal and plastic implants deteriorate and may eventually need to be replaced. Arthritis of the hip causes a gradual loss of cartilage and alters the chemical composition of the joint fluid. This leads to irritation of the lining and fraying of the joint, causing further inflammation and fraying. Since arthroscopy staves off this damage, it may eliminate the need for an implant altogether.
Five signs that it’s time to see a doctor
“If you don’t know what’s causing your symptoms, it’s best to contact a physician because the treatment must target the root of the problem,” says Dr. Levin. He outlines additional indicators that a hip problem warrants an expert opinion:
If you can’t walk comfortably on the affected side.
If the pain persists beyond a few days.
If you are unable to move the hip without pain or there’s swelling of the hip or the thigh area.
If there are signs of an infection, including fever, redness, warmth or other unusual symptoms.
If hip pain prevents you from participating in the sports and activities you enjoy.
The ideal candidate
Hip arthroscopy is usually performed for non-arthritic hip pain and sports hip injuries in younger patients: the ideal age range is 15 to 55 years old. However the science is rapidly advancing; arthroscopy is arguably the most rapidly growing field in orthopaedic surgery. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the number of hip arthroscopies performed will double by 2013.
What causes hip pain?
Hip pain may be caused by the degeneration of cartilage between bones, which provides the lubrication necessary to move joints. If this cartilage begins to wear away, decreased range of motion and pain may result. There are myriad causes of hip pain, including a stress fracture, a tear of the labrum, or arthritis. There are also some spinal problems that may present as hip pain. Strains of the muscles around the hip and pelvis, such as groin pulls and hamstring strains, can cause a spasm and resultant pain. There are also congenital deformities of the hip that may have been persistent from birth and catches up to someone as they age.
Scott M. Levin, M.D., F.A.A.O.S is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in practice at Somers Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. He works with high level athletes and serves as team physician for Pace University athletics (NCAA Division II), as well as several local high school teams including Mahopac High School, Carmel High School, Brewster High School, and Newburgh Free Academy. Dr. Levin utilizes minimally invasive techniques for treatment of various shoulder, knee, and hip disorders. http://www.somersortho.com