Is it possible to obtain the same results as hip labrum surgery without going under the knife? Precise platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem-cell injections have been used by Regenexx doctors for some years to treat hip labral tears, with promising outcomes reported as part of a larger research paper published in 2014 in the Journal of Stem-Cell Research and Therapy on hip arthritis. The most recent research on injections to avoid hip arthroscopy surgery to repair labral tears was reported by another author at the 2015 meeting of the Association of Academic Physiatrists. This new data indicates that tears of the hip labrum respond well to PRP injections.

The hip labrum is the lip on the hip socket that helps to stabilize the ball in the socket of this joint. It can become torn, and the number of surgeries to repair these labral tears has exploded. Hip arthroscopy surgery is extremely aggressive. About 60 to 80 pounds of traction is applied to open the hip joint enough to insert tools. This traction causes the large femoral nerve that supplies the quidriceps muscle to lose the ability to conduct signals. Careful monitoring is required to avoid permanent nerve damage. Despite the apparent popularity of this surgery, there is little clear evidence that it works. In addition, complications from hip arthroscopy surgery are not uncommon.

The new small study found that PRP injections placed under ultrasound guidance could reduce pain in as little as two weeks for patients with labral tears in their hip. This approach reduces downtime for recovery and is much less invasive than surgery.

The upshot? Why would a patient choose invasive hip arthroscopy surgery to repair a torn labrum when a PRP or stem-cell shot could obtain the same results with less downtime and less risk?

“Hip Labrum Surgery Results: Can Injections Replace Surgery?” first appeared as a post on the Regenexx blog.