Health Team

Less Invasive Treatment Gives Relief to Hip Pain Sufferers

Posted October 29, 2007

Relief from hip pain used to mean undergoing surgery for hip replacement or resurfacing. There now is a much less invasive procedure can repair the tissue around the joint to get rid of the pain.

Tanya Lallence was only 31 years old, but had suffered hip pain for years. She said the pain affected her daily life.

"I had a lot of hip-popping, a lot of joint pain," Lallence said. "(It was) keeping me from walking with my son, walking with my husband, taking walks on the beach, going to the mall."

When other treatments failed, Lallence said she was interested to learn of a minimally invasive procedure called hip arthroscopy.

Surgeons place tiny cameras inside the hip to help see where they need to repair tissue and what areas around the hip socket are damaged. In some patients, arthroscopy can delay or even remove the need for a total hip replacement.

Dr. Paul Meli is one of a few orthopedic surgeons in the country who can do the procedure. He practices in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and serves as medical director of the Shoulder and Knee Center of South Florida and chief of surgery at Holy Cross Hospital.

"A donut of cartilage goes around the socket that we can fix," he said. "There's a number of ligaments that attach the ball to the socket that can also be repaired. If there's any free pieces of cartilage stuck in the hip, we can also take care of that."

Some symptoms of hip pain may be surprising to people, Meli said.

"The symptoms typically are groin pain," he said. "People think the hip is on the outside part of the leg, but actually it's on the inside."

The arthroscopic approach uses smaller incisions and offers quicker recovery and longer-lasting pain relief.

"My pain totally, 100 percent, went away after the procedure," Lallence said.

Lallence completed physical therapy after her surgery, so she is now back on her feet and on the move.


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  • angora2 Oct 31, 2007

    ncmom65: Your comment was short-sighted. My husband, an educated man, went in for an appendectomy in a reputable local hospital. The surgeon assured him he'd "only make a 3" incision." I asked why he wouldn't use a laparascope instead. He said it wasn't a good idea. The surgeon was elderly and I finally figured out he wasn't adept at new methods. If I hadn't stepped in, my husband would have gone along with the doc's decison to cut. Many patients don't realize new procedures are available because some docs don't feel confident with new technology, so revert to what they know. We ended up with a much younger surgeon who used a scope. This article was probably news to some readers who will question a surgeon's desire to cut in the future.

  • Kaysie Oct 30, 2007

    My 23 yr old daughter is about to have this done at Duke in a few weeks. It's encouraging to know it's so successful!

  • CestLaVie Oct 30, 2007

    Whether local or far-flung answers exist to this problem, it's certainly good news on the medical front.

  • ncmom65 Oct 29, 2007

    Oh please, this is not the rare surgery that WRAL makes it out to can have this procedure done at any of our local hospitals, and they have been doing them for years....when is WRAL going to wake up and start utilizing it's own local health care community instead of touting the miracles that can be found far wide!!
    Sensationalism at bout supporting your own neighbors, for a change WRAL!!

  • penguin Oct 29, 2007

    You don't need to look far to have this procedure done! I had hip arthroscopy at Duke in 2004. I am a runner, and was 40 at the time and back on the treadmill within a week. It was probably the least invasive surgery that I have ever experienced.