It is one of the most popular operations in sports medicine. It comes in various forms, all with the same name: Hip impingement or bone shaving surgery. World-renowned athletes have had the operation — the Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez had it about two years ago and the sprinter Tyson Gay had it last summer.
Hip arthroscopic surgery is a relatively recent procedure and the doctor's skills and knowledge keeps growing in this field. This summer I had hip arthroscopic surgery for a torn labrum and I was convinced the surgeon would find a hip impingement (cam or pincer) of some sort that contributed to my years of running problems, aches, and imbalances. I choose a prominent surgeon, but one who I later discovered does not treat bone impingements (at least that is what I have heard a few times on the internet). Maybe, my surgeon was a good choice for this very reason. My recovery from surgery was swift and my hip feels solid and is pain free. According to the article some sports medicine researchers are beginning to question if shaving the bone when fixing labral tears is really helpful.
One of the concerns that I had pre-surgery was what the surgeon would find and fix as well as what the recovery would be. There are untold stories of botched surgeries on the internet that would seriously trouble any candidate. As I continue to read forum posts online, so many people still struggle with pain post hip surgery and most of them have had the more invasive bone shaving of hip impingements. This is the group that today's article addresses. I have also read numerous stories of great recoveries from this surgery, where athletes are back up and pain free as they continue to pursue their favorite sport including running. As some of the comments on this article mention, as well as comments on other boards, if the surgery helps you become pain free than it is more than worth it to have it done, even if the long-lasting effects are still unknown or being debated I would recommend getting the best surgeon that you can if you are facing such a surgery. I wish the article had quoted a surgeon like the one I had who will fix the labral tears and other impingements ( I had a synovial tissue impingement that was debrided during the surgery), but who do not believe in bone impingements as being part of the problem in hips with labral tears. My torn labrum surgery was more than worth it, even though I am just getting running again, it feels good to have a working and pain free hip.
This new book from the author of The Entrepreneurial Patient blog is a must read book for anyone with hip problems and is thinking about about arthroscopic hip surgery or has had arthroscopic hip surgery for a labral tear or FAI.