Labral defect - Dr. Michael Lehmann

What is a labral defect?

The edge of the hip joint socket is made up of a fibrocartilaginous lip (labrum). The term used for damage to this structure is a labral defect. This may have been caused by an accident, for example, such as a fall onto the hip. Or deformities of the hip that, over time, lead to wear of the labrum, or femoro-acetabular impingement.


Symptoms of labral defects

Typical symptoms include sharp pain in the groin area and/or in the lateral hip region which can get worse when bending or on rotating the leg inwards. The hip's range of movement is markedly restricted.


How are labral defects diagnosed?

Labral defects can be detected using magnetic resonance imaging. Arthroscopy can also be used, as it allows the labrum to be accurately assessed.


Treatment of labral defects

In most cases, painful labral defects can only be adequately treated with surgery. However normally these days, major procedures are no longer required. The majority of defects can be treated via arthroscopy, leaving behind no major scars. During the procedure, damaged parts of the labrum are removed to prevent them from causing joint damage such as osteoarthritis. Torn joint lips can also be carefully sutured back together, thereby restoring the labrum's function in terms of the mechanics and in particular the nutrition of the joint cartilage.


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