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Square Peg in a Round Hole - A-Rod’s Hip Arthroscopy Is Specialty

Monday, April 06, 2009 - Danbury, CT

Although Alex Rodriguez’s recent hip surgery may seem cutting-edge, Danbury Hospital has been performing it for the past three years on all patients whether or not they’re a famous athlete! Specially, the skilled team of orthopedic surgeons at Danbury Hospital has used hip arthroscopy, a procedure that uses a scope or small x-ray camera, to repair both common and complicated hip joint problems in patients of all ages and activity levels.

“At Danbury Hospital, we’ve refined the procedure to create two or three small holes about 1 centimeter in length for all major conditions of the hip joint,” said Matthew Rogell, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Danbury Hospital “This means the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis and produces a quicker healing time for the patient.”

Dr. Rogell notes that a common use of hip arthroscopy is to correct a structural or genetic defect with the joint itself called femoracetaular impingement (FAI), similar to that suffered by Alex Rodriguez. This method involves shaving the femoral head into a sphere to fit it properly in the hip socket or acetabulum.

Specifically, hip arthroscopy uses surgical tools the size of a #2 pencil to insert a small camera into the hip joint, which is then flooded with saline to better see the structure. A surgeon then uses a variety of small instruments to smooth the surface.

“Simply stated, it’s like reshaping a square peg to fit into a round socket so that it’s not bone scraping against bone,” adds Dr. Ross Henshaw, medical director for sports medicine at Danbury Hospital who has performed numerous hip arthroscopies. “The hip joint is different from knee and shoulder joints as there is no space between the bones. Thus, if a problem is left untreated, a patient is at risk for early arthritis or in need of a total hip replacement.”

Besides FAI, Danbury Hospital has used hip arthroscopy to repair cartilage damage, labral tears, snapping hip syndrome, arthritis, loose bodies in the joint itself and chronic bursitis, among other ailments.

Dr. Ross Henshaw further notes that besides athletes and people with anatomical abnormalities, those exerting an extreme range of hip motion, such as dancers, fitness enthusiasts, golfers and tennis players are good candidates for hip arthroscopy.

“Another symptom of a hip defect is chronic hip, groin and back pain,” adds Dr. Matthew Rogell. “Sometimes a patient has such excruciating back pain that they automatically assume the cause is an old injury or pulled muscle, when in reality, it could be a serious hip impingement.”

Orsolya Korman of Portland, CT always experienced an underlying pain in her hips for most of her 30 years. As a recreational athlete, who regularly ran and practiced yoga, the pain began to radiate from her hip to her thigh and knees last year. After meeting with Dr. Ross Henshaw at Danbury Hospital, an X-ray and MRI revealed a bump on her left thighbone. She opted for hip arthroscopy in October and was back on her feet one week after surgery.

“I couldn’t ask for a better result,” said Orsolya Korman. “Not only do I have 3 tiny scars that are healing beautifully, I just signed up for my first post-surgery yoga class and plan to restart my running routine this spring.”

Orsolya Korman further notes that she might need hip arthroscopy on her right hip, and if so, she will go to Danbury Hospital again later this year.

Dr. Ross Henshaw of Danbury Hospital surmises that hip arthroscopy will become more popular as education to internists and patients improves, as well as more orthopedic surgeons recognizing it as a successful option for patients with hip joint problems.

“The result? Improved movement, increased range of motion, reduced arthritis and pain-free living!” concludes Dr. Ross Henshaw.

About Danbury Hospital

Danbury Hospital’s surgical staff offers the full spectrum of orthopedic care for residents of Connecticut and New York. More than 800 patients per year choose the 371-bed regional medical center and university teaching hospital for their joint replacement surgery. Its teams of board certified orthopedic specialists have adopted proven, minimally invasive procedures for orthopedic surgery, meaning less pain and faster recovery.

Danbury Hospital is a 371-bed regional medical center and university teaching hospital associated with New York Medical College, the Yale University School of Medicine, the Connecticut School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. The hospital provides centers of excellence in cardiovascular services, cancer, weight loss surgery, orthopedics, digestive disorders and radiology. It also offers specialized programs for sleep disorders and asthma management. Medical staff members are board certified in their specialties.

Danbury Hospital is ranked in the top 5 percent of hospitals in the country for overall clinical performance by HealthGrades®, a leading independent health care rating organization. It is the only health care facility in Connecticut ranked among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide for overall clinical performance four years in a row.

In the area of orthopedics, Danbury Hospital ranks in the top 5 percent in Connecticut for joint replacement by HealthGrades®.

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