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What is Hip Impingement Surgery?
It is a form of hip surgery based on an understanding of the mechanical causes of hip pain and osteoarthritis of the hip joint. It was first performed in Cornwall in January 2003 and is now performed on approximately 100 patients per year by the 2 Cornwall Hip Foundation surgeons. The surgery is only possible in the very earliest stages of hip osteoarthritis, usually before obvious abnormalities are seen on X–ray.
It relies on the surgeon having an in depth understanding of the mechanical abnormal factors causing hip osteoarthritis and often needs detailed pre–operative scans to confirm the diagnosis. These mechanical causes of pain and early hip osteoarthritis may then be able to be surgically corrected to treat hip impingement and pain. By removing the hip impingement problem, we hope to delay or stop further deterioration of the hip joint thereby possibly delaying or avoiding the need for later hip replacement surgery. Unfortunately, we do not know for certain that this form of surgery will definitely delay osteoarthritis of the hip, but early results of surgery are encouraging especially when the hip is in good condition at the time of the original surgery.

What are the benefits of hip impingement surgery over conventional hip replacement?
This surgery attempts to treat the discomfort you experience, to preserve your existing natural hip joint and delaying or possibly even avoiding the necessity of requiring hip replacement surgery.

What are the results of hip impingement surgery?
The long–term results are not yet known. Recent studies of small numbers of patients indicate that approximately 90% of patients experience a good or excellent result at 2.5 years after surgery.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence has given guidance on this procedure. The recent improved understanding of the mechanical causes of hip arthritis make this a logical procedure for young people with hip pain and abnormal hip shape now understood to cause progressive damage to your hip joint surfaces.
The result of our first 148 cases performed in Truro give a success rate of over 90%, with 9 patients having further deterioration of their hip problem after their initial surgery and requiring hip resurfacing or replacement surgery. A further 7 patients have ongoing discomfort over a year after their surgery, but not severe enough to warrant hip replacement surgery.
The results from our unit were presented at the 2008 British Hip Society in Norwich.

What will the surgery involve?
This is major surgery and the exact nature of the surgery will depend on the nature of the cause of your hip problem.
In basic terms, the procedure involves taking the ball of the hip out of the socket and removing the areas of bone from the ball and the socket which are catching against each other when your hip bends.
It is necessary to cut a part of the hip bone (the greater trochanter) to safely access the hip joint without disrupting the blood supply to the hip. This part of the bone is re–attached at the end of the operation with 2 to 3 large screws. This bone takes about 2 months to heal back in place. During this period it is essential that you do not walk on your leg and you will need to use crutches to assist you for this time period.

Click here for advice on rehabilitation after surgery:

Hip Debridement