Health Team

Less Invasive Treatment Gives Relief to Hip Pain Sufferers

Posted October 29, 2007 5:06 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2007 11:48 p.m. EDT

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.