THURSDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- The use of minimally
invasive "arthroscopic" surgery to treat painful disorders of the
hip offers athletes who undergo the procedure a good shot at
ultimately resuming their respective sport at a highly competitive
level, a new study suggests.
Researchers determined that nearly 80 percent of athletes
suffering from hip arthritis sparked by internal ball and socket
joint damage to the hip ("hip impingement") were able to return to
their sport within an average of a little more than nine months
following a hip arthroscopy.
What's more, about 90 percent were capable of competing at the
same level as they had prior to their initial hip impairment, the
study authors noted.
"In athletic activities which require a high degree of motion and significant force through the joint, there can be earlier onset of symptomatic injury," Dr. Bryan Kelly, sports medicine orthopedic surgeon and co-director of the Center for Hip Pain and Preservation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, explained in a hospital news release.
And "although technically challenging, appropriately performed
arthroscopic surgery results in less soft tissue trauma, less blood
loss, shorter hospitalizations, and likely provides a faster return
to a full recovery," Kelly added by way of comparing the
small-incision surgical option with much more invasive standard
"This study," he continued, "demonstrates that there is high rate of return to pre-injury level of function with arthroscopic intervention. Before this study we knew that hip impingement occurred in athletes, but we were not certain as to the degree of our ability to treat this arthroscopically with a successful return to full function."
Kelly and his colleagues are slated to present their findings
Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society
for Sports Medicine in Providence, R.I.
While hip impingement can occur among people who are genetically
predisposed to experience the condition, athletes are particularly
vulnerable. When it strikes, the syndrome often prompts pain,
motion restriction, and general athletic performance
The current findings stem from work tracking 47 high-level
athletes from a wide range of sports, including soccer, ice hockey,
baseball, swimming, lacrosse, field hockey, football, running,
tennis, horseback riding and crew. The patients were nearly 23
years old on average, and more than half played at the college
All underwent arthroscopic surgery and were tracked for an
average of about 16 months thereafter to assess their ability to
return to a high level of competitive sport.
For more on hip injuries, visit the
U.S. National Institutes of Health.