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Hip Preservation

  • Hip Preservation

Hip disease is frequently linked to aging, but many hip problems begin at birth or during development of the hip with structural abnormalities. These variations can cause excessive wear on hip joints long before aging is a factor.

For younger patients with hip conditions, it’s essential to preserve as much of the existing hip as possible. The Hip Preservation Program at Indiana University Health has been designed to meet the unique needs of young patients with developmental hip problems like dysplasia or acquired problems resulting from injuries. We provide the latest surgical options to preserve the existing hip while protecting you from future joint damage. Our multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, radiologists, sports medicine specialists and physical therapists use advanced techniques to return you to the activities you love as quickly and safely as possible.

Hip Problems in Young Adults

Hip pain or impaired movement in young adults can be caused by inherited conditions, overuse due to high levels of activity or even injury. Our Hip Preservation Program helps children and young adults with a full range of hip problems, including the conditions listed below.


Hip Preserving Treatment Options

Our Hip Preservation Program offers innovative, comprehensive treatment options for all hip problems that affect young adults. Our experienced physicians will work with you every step of the way, from diagnosis to treatment and recovery, to select the treatment option that best fits your needs.

Hip Arthroscopy 

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive technique that can be used to repair damaged cartilage, shave off bone spurs or remove tissue. During the procedure, your surgeon will make small incisions around your hip joint. A small camera will be inserted into the joint to allow your surgeon to clearly see what work needs to be done to reduce pain and improve hip function. 

Arthroscopy poses few risks and has a quick recovery time. It’s most often used if nonsurgical treatments, such as injections, pain medications or physical therapy, don’t improve your condition.

Hip arthroscopy helps improve the following conditions:

Periacetabular Osteotomy 

Periacetabular osteotomy is an advanced surgical procedure that corrects congenital hip dysplasia by moving the hip socket into the best possible position. By repositioning the socket, less pressure is put on hip cartilage, reducing damage and the risk for arthritis while preserving hip function. This surgery may allow patients to delay or even avoid hip replacement, which is pivotal for young adults since most hip replacements last only 20 years.

During periacetabular osteotomy, the hip socket is cut away from the pelvis and repositioned to fit over the femoral head. The hip socket is then reattached to the pelvis with multiple screws to allow it to heal in the correct position.

Periacetabular osteotomy requires general anesthesia and a four to five inch incision on the front part of your hip. It carries the same risks as most surgeries, including infection, pain and complications with anesthesia. You will spend two to four days in the hospital after the surgery.

Because it is a major operation, you must wait six to eight weeks before putting any weight on the hip, including standing or walking. Our team of specialists will assist you with physical rehabilitation and strength training, as well as pain management. Most patients report no pain eight weeks after the surgery, around the time they walk again. After four months, most patients resume normal activities and experience no pain.

Femoral Head/Acetabular Osteoplasty 

Femoral head/acetabular osteoplasty helps remove abnormalities in the bone that cause femoroacetabular impingement. If the bone cannot be corrected using minimally invasive arthroscopy, this open surgical procedure will allow your surgeon to make the necessary changes to the bone structure. This surgery improves your range of motion and reduces the pain associated with hip impingement.

Femoral head/acetabular osteoplasty takes between an hour and two hours. You will be put under general anesthesia for the duration of the surgery. The incision for this surgery is usually around three or four inches long.

Most patients only need to stay at the hospital for one night following surgery. It carries many of the same risks as normal surgery, such as infection, pain or complications from anesthesia.  Though you cannot put any weight on the hip or rotate your hip for up to six weeks after surgery, you will be able to use crutches to get around. After six weeks, you will work with our physical therapists to ensure you do not push your hip too far before it is ready to be used.


Our Surgical Expertise 

Our orthopedic surgeons are experts with years of experience in preserving hip function in young adults. Our physicians are fellowship-trained and conduct research in orthopedics to share valuable knowledge with the medical community about the specialized operations performed at IU Health. Our Hip Preservation Program includes the following experts from our nationally-ranked IU Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine practice:


Patient Stories & Resources

Read more about our patients' journeys and their return back to heathy activity as well as access blog and video resources on developmental hip preserving treatments and options.