Millions of Americans suffer from osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative disease that affects your joints. In OA, years of wear-and-tear damage the cartilage that protects the surface of the joints, triggering inflammation and causing symptoms like pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.
As major weight-bearing joints, your hips are especially prone to the wear-and-tear that causes OA. Not only do you use these joints a lot, but they’re also subjected to the force and pressure of your own body weight.
While hip replacement surgery is often recommended for people with advanced hip arthritis, hip preservation surgery can be a good choice for many people with early-stage OA. Joshua D. Harris, MD, is a leading provider of hip preservation surgery for patients in Houston, Texas, using state-of-the-art techniques for optimal patient outcomes. Here’s how this innovative surgery could help you.
Hip preservation surgery and early OA
The goal of hip preservation surgery is right in its name: to help restore and maintain normal hip function by specifically focusing on the early damage caused by joint wear-and-tear. Specifically, hip preservation surgery focuses on the layer of slick cartilage that covers the bone ends, delaying or preventing future damage and, ideally, eliminating the need for joint replacement.
Healthy hip cartilage helps your hips move smoothly, without painful friction. However, because cartilage lacks a robust blood supply, its power to heal itself is limited, too. Hip preservation uses techniques to repair cartilage and promote healing responses to prevent disease progression.
Hip preservation surgery typically uses a minimally invasive approach called hip arthroscopy. In this technique, Dr. Harris uses a special instrument called an arthroscope — a long, flexible instrument equipped with a camera and a light.
At the beginning of your procedure, Dr. Harris inserts the scope through a very small incision, using the camera and the light to capture real-time video of the joint, eliminating the need for very large incisions. He inserts surgical tools through other small incisions to repair the joint surface.
Hip preservation techniques.
In the very early stages of OA, hip arthroscopy might be used to remove bony overgrowths called bone spurs that can interfere with normal joint movement. But for other types of arthritis-related damage, Dr. Harris relies on an array of state-of-the-art surgical techniques to preserve the joint and reduce the need for joint replacement.
Microfracture surgery uses a special tool to make tiny holes in your joint surface. This controlled damage promotes blood flow and healing that supports the formation of new, healthy cartilage.
Abrasion arthroplasty also works by creating controlled damage in the joint. High-speed abrasion removes the damaged cartilage, penetrating the underlying bone to spur healing responses.
Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI)
ACI is a two-step process. In the first step, healthy cartilage is harvested from another, non-weight-bearing joint. The cartilage cells are cultured in a lab and then implanted into the damaged joint. Over time, these new cells replace damaged cells to promote normal hip function.
Osteochondral autograft or allograft transplantation
In this surgery, one or more small, cylindrical plugs of healthy cartilage are harvested from a non-weight-bearing area. These individual plugs are transplanted into the damaged area of the hip bone. Osteochondral allograft transplantation is a similar technique that uses donor tissue rather than your own.
Dr. Harris selects the optimal technique for you based on the extent of your arthritis and other factors.
Make healthy hips a priority
Hip replacement surgery definitely plays an important role in restoring mobility for people with advanced OA. But for people with early stage hip arthritis, hip preservation surgery could be an ideal solution.
To learn more about hip preservation surgery and how it might help slow the progression of your hip OA, call 713-441-8393 or book an appointment online with Dr. Joshua Harris today.