Surgical Dislocation of the Hip

Open hip dislocation refers to a surgical procedure in which the ball-and-socket hip joint is surgically dislocated so that the natural hip joint can be repaired. Open hip dislocation can be an extremely effective way to correct complex hip disorders while preserving your natural hip joint.

Why Would An Open Hip Dislocation Be Performed?

An open hip dislocation is most commonly used to treat younger patients with a relatively healthy hip but with a specific problem that requires open correction. This procedure is most effective for major hip deformities that may not be adequately corrected with hip arthroscopy. Hip disorders treated with surgical dislocation include:

  • Complex femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) deformities
  • Major structural abnormalities of the hip joint, such as
  • A deformed femoral head as seen in Perthes Disease
  • Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE)
  • Articular cartilage defects (joint surface defects)
  • Post-traumatic hip deformities
  • Other conditions (tumors and fractures)

Candidates for open dislocation of the hip must have a relatively healthy hip with a problem that can be surgically corrected.

Examples of such surgical corrections include:

  • Treating/grafting surface cartilage problems
  • Repairing the acetabular labrum (rim of cartilage around the hip socket)
  • Reshaping the rim of the hip socket
  • Correcting the shape of the ball (femoral head) and/or top of the femur bone

Open hip dislocation may help certain patients with structural problems of the hip prevent or at least delay the development of osteoarthritis.

The Procedure

Surgery is conducted under general anesthesia. A small section of the thigh bone (called the greater trochanter) is cut in a procedure called a trochanteric osteotomy. This bony fragment and the attached muscles can then be moved to provide access to the hip joint. This allows the WBJ surgeon an opportunity to gently rotate and expose the entire hip joint.

The ball-shaped femoral head of the thigh bone can be dislocated out of the joint so that the hip socket (acetabulum) and top of the thigh bone (femoral head) can be inspected and, if necessary, repaired. The acetabular labrum and surface cartilage of the entire ball and socket can be visualized and treated.

During the procedure, your WBJ surgeon may need to smooth out areas of cartilage or bone (“debridement”). The labrum of the hip joint, which is a cartilage ring around the socket, may be repaired. In some cases, areas of bone may need to be shaved away from the socket and/or femur.  Every patient is unique, and your procedure may differ from those of other people undergoing surgical dislocation.

Once the hip is repaired, the joint is relocated (restored) and the greater trochanter (portion of the thigh bone) is reattached using two or three fixation screws.

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