Hip preservation surgery

Hip dysplasia and hip impingement

Duke hip preservation surgeons perform hundreds of hip preservation surgeries annually to reduce hip pain and restore normal hip function. When painful hip conditions such as hip dysplasia and hip impingement are diagnosed early, we are among the few orthopaedic specialists in the country to use complex hip preservation techniques to help you reduce your risk for premature arthritis and hip replacement surgery in your later years.

Hip preservation may be best option for hip pain

Activity-related hip pain should not be ignored, especially if you experience it when walking or moving. Feeling a sharp, intense, groin pain when pivoting unexpectedly can be a red flag to see an orthopaedic specialist as it may signal a tear in the labrum, the lining of the cartilage around the hip socket. A labral tear may be caused by a deteriorating hip condition such as hip dysplasia or hip impingement (doctors call it FemoroAcetabular Impingement or FAI). Left untreated, either condition can lead to arthritis and eventually, hip replacement surgery. If hip dysplasia or hip impingement is identified as the cause of your pain, hip preservation may be your best option.

Hip preservation surgery is not for everyone, but it is a relatively new option for people age 20 to 50 in general, (Occasionally it may be an option for people who are younger or older.) Hip preservation procedures may be beneficial for athletes who put their hips through extreme ranges of motion, and people who were diagnosed with hip dysplasia as a child and are now experiencing pain as an adult.  Hip preservation surgery may also be an option for people who experience avascular necrosis, a disease that results from temporary or permanent loss of blood supply to the bone. It is typically not an option if moderate arthritis is already present.

Choose Duke Orthopaedics for your hip preservation procedure because we offer:

  • National leaders in hip preservation. Our orthopaedic program is consistently ranked as one of the top in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Our hip preservations specialists perform hundreds of hip preservations surgeries each year, and are among the few surgeons in the country to perform complicated hip surgeries such as periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) for hip dysplasia. Our vast experience means you recover faster and experience less pain.
  • The right treatment for you. Selecting the right candidate for hip preservation techniques is important. Our comprehensive evaluation of your condition will guide our recommendations. Your treatment may start with non-operative therapies such as activity modification, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, injections and physical therapy. If those are unsuccessful, hip preservation surgery may be the next step. If you have moderate hip arthritis, you may benefit from a different hip surgery, such as hip replacement. We help you understand your condition, manage your expectations, and work with you to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • Advanced imaging techniques. We are among the few centers in the country to offer 3-T MRI, a powerful diagnostic tool that requires no painful injections into the hip joint, and no CT scans. This reduces anxiety often associated with traditional imaging tests, and requires less radiation exposure.
  • Game-changing techniques. Our doctors pioneered game-changing techniques to relieve hip pain and dysfunction caused by labral tears that result from hip impingement (FAI), and hip dysplasia. We’re nationally recognized for our comprehensive treatment approach to avascular necrosis, as well as conditions typically seen in children and adolescents, including slipped capital femoral epiphysis. (This occurs when the upper part of the thighbone shifts and weakens the hip joint).
  • Expert teamwork. You’ll work with fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons and doctors who have undergone years of specialized training. Your team will also include physician assistants, nurses, anesthesiologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and patient resource managers who all devote themselves to your well being. You’ll be treated compassionately and holistically, with the goal of returning to your optimal function and enhanced quality of life.
  • Ongoing research. Our hip preservation specialists are researching ways to improve how patients are diagnosed with hip conditions that may benefit from hip preservation techniques, as well as how to optimize pain control following surgery.


We offer a full array of conservative treatments for hip pain, such as activity modification, medication, steroid and pain-relief injections, and specialized physical therapy. If they aren’t successful, we offer these hip preservation surgical options.


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