Labral Tears

The labrum is a soft cartilaginous flange-like structure which is attached to the edge of the socket or acetabulum in the pelvis.  It would be useful if you read the preceding section dealing with femoroacetabular impingement syndrome.  We deal with the labrum there. 

The labrum has several functions in the hip joint.  It does serve to deepen the socket somewhat and thereby make the ball and socket joint more stable.  In addition, it probably has some role in distributing the synovial or lubricant fluid through the joint.  It also softens the edge of the socket such that bumping or impingement may be less dramatic and painful. 

Labral tears are not uncommon and typically appear more frequently with age.  They form part of the age-related degenerative spectrum.  Not all labral tears are symptomatic.  They can sometimes be incidental findings on MRI scans. 

When they are symptomatic, usually in the age group between 20 and 45 years, they sometimes require treatment. 

Non-operative measures, apart from symptomatic relief with analgesics, are usually ineffective.  From a surgical perspective, arthroscopic re-attachment of the labrum can be very successful.  Alternatively, if the labrum is too severely degenerate, that segment may be excised or trimmed.  There is also a more recent move towards labral reconstruction.  Other tissues from the body can be used or, alternatively, we can use so-called allograft materials from cadaveric donors.  These are issues that you should discuss with us at your next visit.