Hip Preservation

Hip preservation refers to the care of the hip and preservation of hip function. Patients with hip pain often cannot recall a specific event that lead to the hip problem. The doctor will typically start by asking how the child’s hip hurts with specific activities and then complete a physical exam to identify potential sources of the hip pain. Hip pain is increasingly seen as a treatable condition in active people. Alterations in the shape or structure of the ball and socket that comprise the hip joint are now recognized as the primary cause of hip pain.

The majority of abnormal shape or structure of the hip can be detected on regular x-rays. Occasionally, patients will also require a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study of the hip as well. Once this information is available, the orthopaedic surgeon can determine the best course of treatment.

Hip pain in children, adolescence and young adulthood is often a prelude to early hip arthritis and the potential need for hip replacement. Hip replacements at an early age (less then 40 years old) should be avoided if possible due to the need for revisions as the person ages.

Alterations of the shape of the hip joint can occur in either the socket (acetabulum) or the ball (femoral head and neck). When a hip replacement is needed the pediatric orthopaedic surgeons at Emory use the most advanced techniques, such as anterior approach and resurfacings, and materials, such as ceramics and metals, to create a result with the least amount of recovery time and the greatest durability of the new hip as possible.

Pediatric Orthopedics