New procedure aims to alleviate hip pain

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A new procedure aims to ease hip pain. (WLS)

Hip problems are on the rise and so are hip replacements. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of hip replacement procedures more than doubled.

Doctors are looking for alternatives to this major operation; especially for young, active patients.

Photographer Marie-Christine Genero is always looking for the perfect shot, but a few years ago, hip pain prevented her from getting it.

"It was a dull, deep pain in the hip. Since I had that pain, I wasn't going down in the positions I used to do," Genero said.

She also had to give up many of her favorite activities.

"Boxing, circuit training, snowboarding, running, so just a ton of stuff that I love doing," Genero said.

Genero had a femoroacetabular impingement or FAI for short. It happens when bones in the hip change shape and rub together, it's commonly seen in young, active people.

"The ball and socket kind of change shape in response to repetitive activities and loadings that's going on in the joint," said Dr. Shane J. Nho, orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center.

Dr. Nho performs a procedure called hip arthroscopy to solve the problem. First, he makes tiny incisions and repairs any damage. Then, he works on the abnormal bone shape.

"Most importantly, we have to shave down the bone so that the ball and socket articulate more smoothly," Nho said.

The surgery only takes about an hour and a half, but the recovery can be six months or more. Dr. Nho says because the procedure is newer, the long-term outcomes aren't known. The hope is that arthroscopy can prolong the need for a hip replacement in young patients.

Genero had the procedure about nine months ago, and now, she can snap away.

Dr. Nho says hip arthroscopy is considered a newer procedure, and not all doctors are trained to perform it.

If you would like more information, check out the medical breakthroughs on the web at

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