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Hip Labral Tear Recovery Without Surgery: The Bright Shiny Object Syndrome

POSTED ON IN Hip Latest News BY Chris Centeno

Orthopedic surgery suffers from what I call the “bright shiny object” syndrome. What is this? It’s the cause of countless unneeded and invasive surgeries and treatments that cause more damage than good. This morning I’d like to introduce you to a patient from Canada who traveled to Colorado seeking hip labral tear recovery without surgery. She’s also featured in a video on Canadian local TV. What she learned is that her hip labral tear was the “bright shiny object,” but the real cause of her pain was more complex than her doctors understood.

The Bright Shiny Object

MRI is a two-edged sword. Meaning, it can show us that something looks abnormal, but it contains little wisdom about what might be causing your pain. In fact, oftentimes what’s causing the patient’s pain doesn’t show up on an MRI. This is what I call the “bright shiny object syndrome.”

Hence, if you’re looking for hip labral tear recovery without surgery, you need to avoid the orthopedic surgery “bright shiny object.” Meaning, an orthopedic surgeon will get all excited about and likely want to operate on the labral tear seen on MRI, when, in fact, the cause of the patient’s pain and problems lie elsewhere. They simply get distracted by the bright shiny object and can’t see the big picture.

Hip Labral Tears Are Like Wrinkles

You would think that since millions of surgeries have been performed on hip labrum tears after just an MRI and a cursory exam that we have great evidence that this finding is, in fact, associated with hip pain. You would be wrong. We now have many studies that show that hip labrum tears are found in many patients who have no pain. Basically, degenerative hip labrum tears happen all the time and seem to be about as important as wrinkles. Let me show you how one patient was able to experience hip labral tear recovery without surgery or destructive treatments by getting properly diagnosed.

Suman’s Journey

“A compass, I learnt when I was surveying, it’ll…it’ll point you True North from where you’re standing, but it’s got no advice about the swamps and desert and chasm that you’ll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead, heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp…What’s the use of knowing True North?” —Abraham Lincoln

Suman’s journey begins like so many who have a hip labral tear. She had pain in the hip area and then eventually got an MRI. Most patients are frustrated at that point as the pain is preventing them from doing what they want to do. In the absence of other information on what to do, they opt for surgery or cortisone injections to treat a labral tear that usually isn’t the cause of hip pain. This is all one grand placebo that through downtime and rehab either helps the original problem or it remains and they move on to the next surgery. Hence, the MRI is like the compass. It points you in a direction.

Suman was seen by Dr. Pitts in 2016 at our Colorado HQ. She suffered a hip labral tear due to a car accident, and that tear was the bright shiny object on her hip MRI. The usual treatment would be cortisone injections, and if those failed, then surgery. She didn’t want to go down that road, and when her doctor suggested cortisone injections, she opted for prolo injections in her low back, which somewhat relieved the pain in her hip, but she was still in a great deal of pain there and in her low back, neck, and other parts of her body.

She felt helpless and hopeless, but she did her homework online and soon realized that this was unlikely to be the whole story and that there was something, other than cortisone and surgery, called stem cell therapy. Dr. Pitts diagnosed her with not only the labral tear, but he also looked at the big picture and noted problems in her SI joint and a pinched nerve in her low back, among other things. Dr. Pitts used stem cells and platelets with precise image-guided injections to treat these issues. Her results are described in the video above.

The upshot? Suman’s story is one of the bright shiny objects. She read our website and soon realized that embarking down a road which had no ability to fix the problem and could ultimately lead to surgery on something that may, or may not be, causing her pain wasn’t a good idea. She knew that there was more to her story. Hence, she chose Regenexx, where we look at the big picture. In addition, unlike chiropractic amnio scams, she found an expert physician who knew exactly what to inject and where.


    Nancy B. says

    I am also someone who possessed a 'bright shiny object'. After sudden onset of incapacitating lower back and leg pain, a very famous Stanford neurosurgeon told me that I needed a 360 degree fusion A.S.A.P. or I might have permanent nerve damage. The fact that I also suffered from spondylolithesis added fuel to the surgical fire.

    Never mind I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome where all my connective tissue is very lax, mild spinal problems are very common plus healing can take two to three times longer than a 'normal' person--and still not be optimal.

    Thank God for second opinions! I waited and saw someone at U.C.S.F. and they decided that it was a ruptured disc that was really causing the problem and if I had the patience, the problem might resolve. Sure enough, weeks later I can now walk with only small amounts of discomfort.

    I suppose physical therapy will be the best treatment to help my musculature hold my spinal slippage in check. I am pleased I had the courage to stand up to this Internationally acclaimed doctor and his proposed treatment, as in my case, with EDS, most people who get fusions will end up with adjacent level failure within years and some have almost their entire spine fused.

    Better to help Nature heal the body (sometimes with a little encouragement) rather than start a cascading problem by following 'a bright shiny object.'

    Thank you for posting this article because I know that far too many surgeries are done trying to correct a certain problem--which really isn't the problem at all.


    Lily says

    I too have a laberal hip tear in both my right and left hip (according to MRI report). What do you do for this condition? What is the cost?`


    Regenexx Team says

    We treat Hip Labral tears regularly with precise image guided injections of the patient's own stem cells. But, before treatment accurate diagnosis based on thorough exam and not just an MRI report is crucial. Please see: and and and


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    About the Author

    Chris Centeno

    Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…

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