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Acetabular Labral Tear Treatment Options

If you've been diagnosed with an acetabular labral tear, your doctor will probably start with conservative treatment. He or she may recommend using painkillers and resting the hip. However, it’s unclear how well this approach works in the long run. Most of the labrum gets little to no blood flow, making natural healing difficult or even impossible.

Physical therapy may help an acetabular labral tear. You can learn to avoid putting too much pressure on the joint while building muscle strength. 

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Acetabular Labral Tear

A hip (acetabular) labral tear is damage to cartilage and tissue in the hip socket. In some cases, it causes no symptoms. In others it causes pain in the groin. It can make you feel like your leg is "catching" or "clicking" in the socket as you move it. Over time, labral tears in the hip may cause permanent damage to the joint. The labrum is a band of tough cartilage and connective tissue that lines the rim of the hip socket, or acetabulum. It cushions the joint of the hip bone, preventing the bones...

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If conservative measures don’t work, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery. This is a minimally invasive approach. The doctor will guide several small tools, including a camera, to the site through two or three incisions. Usually, the torn tissue is removed, but in some cases the tear is repaired.  

As with any surgery, there are risks, including nerve damage. This side effect is usually temporary.

Surgery usually provides short-term improvement. But experts aren’t sure how long the effects last. Surgery is less likely to be successful in people who already have other problems in the hip like arthritis or hip dysplasia. Following surgery, you will need physical therapy to rebuild strength and flexibility.

Since the success of surgery for an acetabular labral tear is by no means certain, talk over the pros and cons with your doctor. You may also want to get a second opinion.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on June 23, 2012

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