Treatment May Delay Surgery on Rodriguez’s Hip

The New York Times—March 5, 2009

Several surgeons with expertise in Alex Rodriguez's type of injury said Thursday that there was a range of treatment for a tear of the labrum in the hip and that Rodriguez might be able to play this season without surgery.

At best, they said, he could complete the season by modifying his exercise routine and undergoing therapy. At worst, he could soon need significant surgery that could keep him out of action for at least four months.

They also stressed that a torn labrum was often a sign of a more serious bone problem in the hip socket. Surgery to correct either problem is usually arthroscopic, they said.

If the operation fixes only the torn labrum, the recovery period could be four to six weeks, they said. But if there is surgery to correct an underlying cause in the bones, recovery could take four months.

Dr. Robert Buly of Hospital for Special Surgery in New York said there was a chance that therapy could work, but he added that a labrum torn as a result of bone problems would lessen the chances of recovery without surgery.

“If they have a lot of impingement, I think the chance of that patient doing well with conservative treatment is pretty low,” he said.

According to the Hospital for Special Surgery’s Web site, the labrum is a specialized piece of cartilage that runs along the rim of the hip socket and provides a suction seal and stability to the hip joint.

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