A hip surgery procedure called subchrondroplasty may benefit young and active people with hip problems. It is minimally invasive and preserves the joint’s natural function.

Hip surgery techniques and technology have improved to offer people less invasive hip surgeries with fewer risks. Surgeons use different techniques to manage different conditions, and a person’s doctor can recommend the most suitable option for them.

Subchondroplasty treats microfractures inside the bone, also known as subchondral fractures.

Read on to learn more about subchrondroplasty and how it works.

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Subchondroplasty is a new surgical procedure that surgeons first performed on knee joints. They now use the method on other joints, including the hip.

This procedure is minimally invasive and keeps the joint’s typical function, making it a suitable choice for young and active people.

During subchondroplasty, surgeons inject calcium phosphate — a bone substitute — into bone marrow lesions. This can improve the structure of the damaged bone by allowing new bone to form within the joint, making it stronger.

With the help of imaging or an arthroscope, which is a small camera the surgeon inserts into the joint, healthcare professionals precisely guide the injection to the lesion.

Different types of hip surgery are available. Some types are more appropriate to diagnose and treat specific hip problems.

Hip arthroscopy is a type of hip surgery that involves making a small cut and inserting a camera to view the hip joint. The surgeon guides their surgical instruments through the small incision. While viewing the joint on a screen, they perform the operation to repair injuries.

Doctors may recommend hip arthroscopy to treat:

  • hip labrum tears
  • dysplasia, which refers to a shallow hip socket
  • femoroacetabular impingement, which refers to an extra bone that forms along the head of the femur
  • snapping hip syndrome
  • synovitis, which refers to the inflammation of tissues within the joint
  • loose bone or cartilage fragments in the joint
  • hip joint infection
  • tendon rupture or disorder
  • sciatic nerve compression

While arthroscopy has been around for many years, surgeons use it mostly for knee and shoulder repair.

With more severe hip problems, people may require a total hip replacement. Total hip replacement surgery and hip resurfacing are two types of hip replacement surgery.

A hip replacement surgery, also called total hip arthroplasty, involves removing damaged bone and cartilage in the hip joint. Surgeons use prosthetic components consisting of metal, plastic, and ceramic to replace the damaged joint. They use screws or cement to hold the components together.

Since the 1960s, researchers and surgeons have improved surgical techniques and technology. While the traditional approach to total hip replacement surgery requires a large incision, minimally invasive total hip replacement uses one or a few shorter cuts. This reduces pain and speeds recovery.

However, minimally invasive surgery is not an option for everyone who needs a hip replacement. People who have excess weight, are very muscular, or have a history of hip surgeries may not be suitable candidates for these procedures.

People who may benefit most from subchondroplasty of the hip have bone marrow lesions, which are changes in the bone that can be painful. Injecting calcium phosphate into the lesion may relieve pain and help prevent arthrosis in the joint from worsening.

Individuals who are active and those who are younger may prefer surgical techniques such as subchondroplasty because it is minimally invasive. It also does not require prosthetic components.

Having subchondroplasty may help delay the need for more invasive hip surgeries. Surgeons can use them as an early intervention for hip issues that may eventually require surgical repair. However, because of the progressive nature of joint conditions such as arthrosis, some people may later require arthroscopy.

Studies suggest that subchondroplasty does not negatively affect the results of future arthroscopy procedures.

Selecting the most suitable candidates to undergo subchondroplasty is necessary to help minimize risks and complications. For example, it is not a suitable option for people with osteoarthritis.

Surgeons suggest that people generally tolerate subchondroplasty well. Some may experience pain after the surgery, but this is typical.

Possible complications include the leakage of calcium phosphate to other tissues in the joint may occur during the procedure. Leakage may also occur after the operation.

Health experts do not yet consider subchondroplasty a common procedure for hip joints. Once additional safety and efficacy data become available, surgeons may be able to offer this surgery to eligible people.

When considering hip surgery, questions to ask a doctor may include:

  • Which procedure is most appropriate for my condition?
  • What form of rehabilitation can improve the chances of success after surgery?
  • If I have pain after surgery, what can I take?
  • When is my follow-up appointment, and how many follow-up appointments do I need?

Subchondroplasty is a minimally invasive surgery that can treat bone marrow lesions and subchondral fractures.

It can help delay more invasive procedures and preserve the typical function of the hip. This makes it a suitable option for young and active individuals.