A new twist on a popular hip surgery could help people battle their pain

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) – Younger patients are turning to hip preservation surgery, or hip arthroscopy, as an alternative to medication when battling their hip pain. “The goal is to get people 50 and under up and running in a non-invasive way that prevents them from needing a hip replacement at an early age,” said Dr. Eric Tannenbaum with Southern Indiana Orthopedics. Hip preservation surgery isn’t new. And it isn’t perfect. Studies show a third of its patients are left with an entirely new groin injury. Dr. Tannenbaum says that’s because during surgery, traction is needed to help open up the hip. In the process, the equivalent of a 75-pound kettlebell weight is placed onto the groin. “The risk here is sexual dysfunction, numbness or even tearing in the groin area,” said Dr. Tannenbaum. It’s a risk that up until now has given some patients pause. Heath Ensminger, a patient of Dr. Tannenbaum’s, says his pain started about three years ago. “The pain got to a point, it got so bad that by the end of the day I couldn’t bring my son to play in the neighborhood park,” said Ensminger. Despite the pain, he said, “some of the risks Dr. Tannenbaum told me about that weight, I wouldn’t have cared to have taken in that region.” It took experts 20 years to be able to achieve the same traction without the weight, which is done with the Stryker Pivot Guardian. “Were just using this pad and we tilt the bed a little and the weight from the patient is enough to prevent them from being pulled off the bed instead of using the post,” said Dr. Tannenbaum. Dr. Tannenbaum encourages patients 50 and under that have hip pain to see an orthopedic specialist. He says he often sees 60-year-old patients who could have avoided a hip replacement if they had hip preservation surgery 10 or 15 years earlier.