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New technique for hip problems

2nd February 2010

Doctors and surgeons in the US are investigating a new surgical technique which might prevent people from needing hip replacement surgery if they are young.


The surgical procedure makes use of bone and cartilage transplants.

The transplants help the injured joint to repair itself, so that it does not need to be replaced at all.

David Helfet, orthopaedic trauma service director at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said that his novel technique can help young patients delay or avoid the need for total hip replacement surgery.

Using the new technique, Helfet and his colleagues were able to treat an 18-year-old car crash victim whose femoral head had been fractured.

The femoral head is the ball part of a ball-and-socket joint in the hip.

The femoral head is removed in total hip replacement surgery, and fractures to the area can cause many blood supply problems as well as eventual bone death.

Femoral head fractures frequently occur in high-impact accidents such as car crashes and falls.

Because total hip replacement surgery usually only lasts about 25 years, a person who undergoes it in their twenties will need to have it revised at several different times throughout the lifespan.

The young man whose hip received the new treatment had fully one-third of the femoral head missing from his hip.

When doctors used a special piece of frozen bone and cartilage to treat the injury, which they anchored into place using two small screws, the patient had an early recovery.

Helfet said that his is one of the first such case reports in orthopaedic literature, and that the method had the advantage of letting younger patients avoid multiple revision surgeries for hip replacements.

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Article Information

Title: New technique for hip problems
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 13949
Date Added: 2nd Feb 2010


BBC News

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