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With Labrum Tears All the Rage, Questions Abound About Causes

New York Daily News—May 31, 2009

Suddenly the hippest thing in Major League Baseball is getting hip surgery.

A startling number of stars are undergoing surgery to repair their acetabular labrum, a ring-shaped piece of cartilage at the meeting point of the femur and pelvis that gets a stress test every time a player swings for the fences, hurls from the mound or stops hard after having second thoughts about stretching a base hit into a double. And recently, labrums across baseball have been losing that stress test.

In the last eight months alone, players who have had labrum surgery include Mike Lowell, Chase Utley, Alex Gordon, Alex Rodriguez, and, just last week, Carlos Delgado.

Some see the spike in injuries - perhaps due in part to the use of performance-enhancing drugs - as a cause for concern. Others see improved technology and more information about the nature of hip injuries as the explanation for the hike in surgeries.

On Friday, Phillies starting pitcher Brett Myers became the latest major leaguer to sign up for the invasive procedure after a visit to Dr. Bryan Kelly, a prominent orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Kelly and several other specialists say medical technology and understanding the nature of the injury are contributing to more common diagnoses.

"For years there were guys with groin pulls on the disabled list, and now we're recognizing that these recurrent groin pulls often times have more to do with stuff going on inside the joint," Kelly told the Daily News on Friday.

This story originally appeared at nydailynews.com.


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