Hip Labral Reconstruction: Surgical Steps and Recovery

Hip labral reconstruction is a relatively new procedure that may be an option if labral repair is not an option. This page discusses the steps of the surgery and what to expect during recovery.

See Hip Labrum Repair Surgery: Issues to Consider


Hip Labral Reconstruction Surgical Steps

The hip labral reconstruction process typically follows these steps:

  1. Damaged labrum diagnosis. An orthopedic surgeon will diagnose a damaged labrum that cannot be repaired.
  2. Graft preparation. Soft tissue is taken from the patient or a donor and prepared to fit the section of the labrum being replaced.
  3. Graft placement. The prepared graft is anchored to the remaining labral tissue using sutures (durable stitching).

Steps of the hip labral reconstruction process

The surgeon will inspect the graft and make sure that it fits and there is a continuous seal between it and the femoral head.

Arthroscopic vs. Open Hip Surgery
Labral reconstruction can be performed using an arthroscopic or open surgical technique.

  • Arthroscopic hip labral reconstruction is less invasive and has shown to produce fewer complications, such as post-operative incision infection, than the open technique.1,2
  • Open surgery requires making a 6 to 10 cm incision and dislocating the hip joint. This approach gives the surgeon a 360-degree view of the hip joint, which may provide an advantage in certain cases, such as when a patient has unusual hip anatomy.

See Different Types of Surgery for Hip Pain

In both arthroscopy and open surgical dislocation, the damaged part of the labrum is removed and measured so that the graft can be prepared to the appropriate size and width. Generally, the surgeon will overestimate the length to ensure that there’s enough to replace the torn labrum.

Recovery and Rehabilitation for Hip Labral Reconstruction

Recovery and rehabilitation for labral tear reconstruction is dependent upon the type of surgery performed (arthroscopic or open) and will generally include pain management, the use of crutches or a walker, and physical therapy.

People who have arthroscopic surgery may begin to walk unaided after 2 or 3 weeks. People who have had open surgery may begin to walk unaided after about 6 weeks.


Studies suggest that full recovery typically occurs within 6 months. Early outcomes have shown positive results with few complications and less pain.3 A recent study demonstrates nearly equivalent result with a circumferential reconstruction to those achieved in simple labral repair despite more challenging hip problems.4 More studies are needed to determine the long-term outcomes of labral tear reconstruction and its effect on overall hip health.

If labral reconstruction fails to heal properly, a revision surgery or a hip replacement may be necessary.

Read about the Total Hip Replacement Surgical Procedure on Arthritis-health.com


  • 1.White BJ, Herzog MM. Labral Reconstruction: When to Perform and How. Frontiers in Surgery. 2015;2:27. doi:10.3389/fsurg.2015.00027.
  • 2.Kargin D, Albayrak A, Atici Y, Yapici F, İlvan G, Balioğlu MB. The complications after open hip dislocation in hip surgery. Acta Orthop Belg. 2017 Mar;83(1):74-80. PubMed PMID: 29322898.
  • 3.Perets I, Hartigan DE, Chaharbakhshi EO, Walsh JP, Close MR, Domb BG. Circumferential Labral Reconstruction Using the Knotless Pull-Through Technique—Surgical Technique. Arthroscopy Techniques. 2017;6(3):e695-e698. doi:10.1016/j.eats.2017.01.014.
  • 4.Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Sports-Health Website. Updated June 6th, 2014. Accessed February 13, 2018.