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Hip Vocabulary

I have no idea what the truly “hip” vocabulary is now. When my kids were in their teens, I think the word was “tight”. And, of course, there was the “bad” term which meant good. When I was in high school, it was, “cool” and “rad”. And it’s always nice to know what others really mean when they use their own language and/or colloquialisms. In fact, I was speaking with a UK patient a few weeks ago and she used the term, “crikey” and, even though we both were speaking English, I had no idea what she meant. She clarified that it was a term expressing surprise.


Most hip surgeons also use vocab that is not easily understood. Sometimes, they also talk in alphabet soup. My alphabet soup consists of terminology used in my field and also some of the acronyms used in texting – OMG, TMI, BTW, OMW etc. etc!


So here’s some introductory alphabet soup and some truly “hip” vocabulary you may hear while going through this hip journey.


Cam – a cam lesion occurs when there is bony overgrowth on the femoral neck.


FAI – Femoroacetabular Impingement is when the acetabulum (socket) and femoral head (ball) don’t fit well together causing a pinching that, in turn, can cause pain, disability and damage to the joint and labrum.


Impingement – A term used when something in the body is getting pinched by another part of your anatomy. In the case of the hip, impingement can be caused by bony lesions called Cam and Pincer lesions among other things.


Labrum – The labrum is the tissue that surrounds the hip joint thus creating stability and a “suction seal”. It can be torn from injury or can be caused by the ongoing impingement from FAI. Please note that many people have a torn labrum without any symptoms.


MRA – MRI Arthrogram is a type of MRI where dye is injected into the joint in order to provide more specific details.


OA – Osteoarthritis occurs when the bone and cartilage begin to deteriorate within a joint such as the hip.


Pincer – a pincer lesion occurs when there is bony overgrowth on the acetabulum (socket).


Portal – a portal is a small incision that is created in order to insert the tools to complete a hip arthroscopy. Typically, doctors use between two and five portals depending on the type of pathology they are fixing.


Prior auth – A requirement by most insurance companies where the surgeon seeks permission for coverage of the planned surgery.


PAO- Periacetabular Osteotomy is a surgery where the doctor makes several cuts in the pelvis and rearranges them, fixates them with screws with the goal of providing a stable hip joint with the proper amount of coverage and stability for the hip joint.


Up next week, more “hip” vocab that you may see on your operative report and hear from your Physical Therapist.

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