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About 7 percent of adults in the U.S. have hip pain, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine - that's nearly 17 million people. While some pain is caused by osteoarthritis that develops with age, the cartilage damage that leads to arthritis actually begins much earlier, and often, the symptoms it causes can be easily overlooked.

Dr. Geoffrey Van Thiel helps patients reduce their risks of developing painful hip arthritis with procedures aimed at restoring damaged cartilage before serious problems occur. Do you need hip cartilage restoration? Contact the office to schedule a consultation.

How is hip cartilage restored?

Recognized as a leader in hip cartilage restoration, Dr. Geoffrey Van Thiel offers patients state-of-the-art solutions tailored specifically for their medical needs, their lifestyles and other factors. Most hip cartilage restoration procedures use one of the following techniques:

  • Microfracture: In this technique, Dr. Van Thiel creates tiny holes in the damaged area inside the joint. These holes help stimulate the formation of new, healthy cartilage through the body's natural healing responses.
  • Stem cell treatment: Stem cells are special cells that have the ability to “turn into” other types of cells, including cartilage cells. In a stem cell hip cartilage repair, a sample of your blood is taken and processed to remove the stem cells it contains. Then these cells are processed and reinjected to the damaged area of cartilage. Once at the site of injury, the stem cells are acted on by special proteins that “tell” the stem cells to grow into new, healthy cartilage cells.
  • Subchondroplasty: Subchondral bone is bone that's located underneath the layer of protective cartilage. Sometimes, defects or lesions form inside the bone, possibly as part of the healing response for tiny fractures or as a consequence of repetitive stress or weight-bearing. They tend to be more common in people with joint alignment problems as well as people who overstress their joints. These lesions can contribute to excess wear and pain in the joint, leading to inflammation and cartilage breakdown over time. In subchondroplasty, a hollow tube or cannula is inserted through the skin and advanced to the damaged area of the bone. An X-ray technique called fluoroscopy is used to ensure the cannula is properly positioned, then a special drill is used to secure the cannula to the bone. Once the cannula is in place, a special bone substitute material is delivered to the lesion, supplementing the damaged, weakened bone.

All three of these procedures can be performed arthroscopically, using small incisions so recovery is quicker and less painful.

Am I a good candidate for hip cartilage restoration?

In general, younger patients who are in good health and who want to prevent or delay joint damage can be excellent candidates for hip cartilage restoration procedures. During your evaluation, Dr. Van Thiel will perform a series of assessments to determine if a cartilage repair is appropriate or if another procedure might be a better option for your needs.

Don't let hip pain interfere with your life.

Hip pain can make it difficult to walk, run and take part in many other physical activities, and without prompt medical care, even minor movements can cause significant pain. Addressing the underlying cause of hip pain as early as possible is the key to preventing more serious joint damage that can lead to serious disability.

As a top-ranked orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in the greater Chicago area relieve hip pain and prevent further joint damage with cutting-edge treatment options focused on their unique needs and treatment goals. To find out more about hip cartilage restoration and other treatments to help you stay healthy and active, call the office of Dr. Van Thiel at to schedule an evaluation.

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