MedWatch Today: “Hip Preservation” focuses on extending the life of the natural hip joint

Med Watch Today

Hip pain can start at any age, but a new field called “hip preservation” focuses on extending the life of the natural hip joint – giving younger and physically active patients more options for relief.

Hip arthroscopy is a surgical procedure used to preserve a patient’s natural hip joint by diagnosing and treating the joint and surrounding soft tissues. And now, one doctor in the Central Valley has helped develop a new, less invasive approach to this procedure.

When Maria Carr met orthopedic surgeon Robert Kollmorgen, she was thrilled to get his second opinion on how to deal with her severe hip pain.

“It was pretty intense, I’d say 8 out of 10 on the pain scale,” described Maria of her hip pain.

Ten years ago, Maria had surgery on both her hips by a surgeon in Los Angeles. She had felt fine, up until last summer. The pain returned and she went back to that same doctor in Southern California.

She said, “He offered me hip replacements, and I wasn’t ready for that and i didn’t think I needed it.”

Her instinct was right. Dr. Kollmorgen told her about his hip preservation program.

He explained “So to preserve a hip, we want to, ideally want somebody who doesn’t have a lot of arthritis, and has something that we can correct either with therapy and injections, or with surgery that can make them better and live the life they want.”  

Maria underwent the hip arthroscopy surgery instead of having her hips replaced.

She stated why she didn’t want to have her hips replaced, “I was really scared about the idea of having foreign metals in my body.”

Dr. Kollmorgen explains his approach to hip arthroscopy, “The techniques we use to do that camera surgery is very unique, to actually the Central Valley. We’ve introduced this to the country, which is called ‘post-less distraction’.”

Instead of using a spacer in between the patient’s legs to make room for the camera, Dr. Kollmorgen uses a less invasive technique.

“We’ve developed a technique to where we don’t need that anymore. So, our patients don’t have to worry about having groin related complications of this surgery,” said Dr. Kollmorgen.

According to Dr. Kollmorgen, studies have found this procedure improves patient outcomes in various ways: patients require less pain medication, and the recovery time is faster than a traditional hip arthroscopy.

Maria exclaimed, “I walked five miles yesterday in Santa Cruz in the morning.”

Dr. Kollmorgen is the first hip preservationist performing this technique in the Central Valley, and he hopes to continue to expand his hip preservation program.

“Letting patients know that there’s a better way, at least in my opinion, to do it,” said Dr. Kollmorgen.

While patients like Maria continue to thrive.

She ended, “I’m focused on recovering fully and I’m also focused on that day where my hips are not thought about at all.”

If you’re experiencing hip pain, talk with your doctor to find out if you’re a candidate for this minimally invasive procedure.

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