What’s Involved in Hip Preservation Surgery?

What’s Involved in Hip Preservation Surgery?

It’s no secret that complete hip joint replacements can offer people a new lease on life. But did you know you can treat many common hip problems in less invasive ways earlier? Improving hip mechanics before joint damage worsens not only delays the need for more extensive procedures in the future, but it can also prevent them entirely.

As an orthopaedic trauma specialist on the cutting-edge of his field, Dr. Eric E. Johnson performs numerous tertiary reconstruction procedures that restore function to the musculoskeletal system, including hip preservation surgery. 

Hip preservation treatments stabilize and fix joint deformities, whether they occur from a failed procedure, trauma, or conditions like hip dysplasia, impingement, or avascular necrosis (AVN).

If you haven’t developed significant arthritis in your hip joint, a preservation procedure could relieve your pain, restore normal function, and reduce your need for a hip replacement in the years to come.

The goal of hip preservation

A complete hip replacement addresses joint issues by replacing this crucial weight-bearing ball-and-socket joint. Conversely, hip preservation is all about protecting the joint from additional damage or deterioration. That makes hip preservation surgery an innovative early intervention when a joint hasn’t yet sustained much damage, especially in conditions that begin in childhood or adolescence.

Conditions that can benefit from hip preservation procedures include:

Hip preservation surgery can also treat hip dysplasia in people of all ages, from infants to adults.

How hip preservation works

There isn’t a single hip preservation surgery. Instead, it’s a variety of techniques that correct hip dysfunction and secondary damage they may cause, like labral tears or cartilage injury.

Dr. Johnson uses various surgical techniques for hip preservation, like hip arthroscopy, osteotomy, and surgical dislocation.

Hip arthroscopy

This hip preservation technique involves small incisions, a camera, and specialized surgical tools. Together, they allow Dr. Johnson to visually assess damage in the hip joint and repair structural problems less invasively than traditional surgeries with a large incision.


Dr. Johnson uses osteotomy to reposition the bones in your hip joint by cutting and reshaping them to improve alignment and function. 

Surgical dislocation

This hip preservation technique relies on safely dislocating the bones in the hip socket without endangering the blood supply. Dr. Johnson could perform surgical dislocation to repair the labrum and recontour your hip socket. 

This hip preservation technique is especially helpful when treating adults with complex hip deformities more difficult to treat with arthroscopy.

What to expect from hip preservation

Hip preservation procedures may be less invasive than a complete joint replacement, but it’s still surgery. 

You can usually expect to be up and walking on crutches within a few days, and your physical therapy program begins almost immediately. However, your recovery time can vary depending on the surgical methods required. For example, it usually takes three to six months to recover from hip arthroscopy, but between 9-12 months for hip osteotomy. 

Dr. Johnson can help determine if you’re a good candidate for hip preservation and offer personalized insight into your surgical options and recovery times.

Do you have hip pain or hip disease? Find out if hip preservation can help you avoid long-term damage. Schedule a consultation with Eric E. Johnson, MD, in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles by calling 310-206-1169 today.

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