St. Jude is Making Strides in Hip Surgery

January 9, 2020 Providence News Team

Kyle Hart was home for winter break when he went for what the committed cross-country athlete considered an easy, warm-up run—just five miles. But the pain in his hip, which  had been steadily growing for months, reached a point that even a long distance runner used to “pushing past it” couldn’t ignore.

A trip to urgent care was followed by an evaluation by his college team’s orthopedic surgeon and a recommendation    to sit out practice for a month. But when the pain only worsened, Kyle was referred to Bob Yin, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at St. Jude Heritage Medical Group, Yorba Linda. While an MRI proved inconclusive, Dr. Yin suspected a torn labrum (the ring of cartilage that surrounds and stabilizes the hip joint) and recommended minimally-invasive
hip arthroscopy.

“Making the correct diagnosis is 90 percent of the challenge with hip issues, which is what makes arthroscopy so helpful,” explains Dr. Yin. ”By inserting a small high-definition camera through a half-inch incision, we can visualize the structure and tissue in ways not possible through traditional imaging.”

During Kyle’s arthroscopy, Dr. Yin found and repaired—through two more small incisions—a serious labral tear as well as shaved and reshaped the femoral bone. Three months post-surgery, Kyle was jogging and at six months, was training full-time, pain-free, in a sport known for its joint-jarring impact.

Repairing and preserving the hip joint is a rapidly growing field, as surgical technology and understanding of hip biomechanics have taken off in the past decade. Most early advances focused on joint replacement, but hip arthroscopy offers a different benefit: repairing injuries before arthritis and cartilage damage become so severe that a hip replacement is unavoidable.

“It’s an exciting time in hip preservation,” says Dr. Yin. “Arthroscopy allows us to accurately identify and treat pain that would have gone undiagnosed or required a much more invasive procedure.”

Only about 1 in 10 orthopedic surgeons have the training and expertise to perform hip arthroscopy which Dr. Yin routinely uses to treat impingement, tears and popping syndromes. Once performed almost exclusively on young adults and athletes, Dr. Yin increasingly uses the
procedure to correct degenerative changes and limit arthritic damage in older patients. “About half of my patients are in their 40s, 50s and 60s, looking for a way to live active lives without pain,” he says, adding that because arthroscopy is far less invasive, recovery is shorter and less
painful. “Not everyone is a candidate for arthroscopy but the pool of patients we can help is definitely growing.”

To make an appointment or for more information about our orthopedic program, please call (714) 626-8630.

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