GJ surgeon offers newer hip procedure

Dr. Kennan Vance

Non-arthritic hip pain used to be something people lived with until they got to the point of needing a hip replacement, according to Dr. Kennan Vance, an orthopedic surgeon at Western Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, 2020 N. 12th St.

Today, patients can undergo a hip arthroscopy procedure to combat pain caused by bony impingement, hip dysplasia, loose fragments in the joint and other conditions.

After the move of another doctor last year, Vance is the only orthopedic surgeon offering the procedure in much of the Western Slope.

Surgeons also perform hip arthroscopy in Aspen and Vail, but Vance said it can be hard for locals to get appointments, particularly with the Vail doctor, who is a pioneer of the technique.

“I saw a need in the community,” Vance said. “I’ve been able to work with cadavers and instructors who have been doing this much longer.”

Vance, 40, began practicing orthopedic surgery in Grand Junction five years ago and started performing hip arthroscopy about a year ago.

He has performed between 12 to 15 hip arthroscopies at Community Hospital and Family Health West.

The procedure involves using small instruments and a tiny camera to get into the hip joint and fix problems in the area that may be causing hip pain when people walk on stairs, get in and out of chairs or experience “snapping” in the joint.

A decade ago, surgeons had to perform a big, open procedure that involved dislocating the hip and trimming off extra bone to make fixes in the joint, Vance said.

But as knee and shoulder arthroscopy procedures became more popular, surgeons began to dabble in using scopes in the hip.

Full recovery time is still about four to six months, but Vance said there are likely to be fewer complications with hip arthroscopy than more complex procedures.

“It’s a newer, less-invasive procedure,” Vance said.

Hip arthroscopy has gained more credibility in recent years and started being covered regularly by insurance in Mesa County about two or three years ago, Vance said. The procedure can treat pain and delay the time before a person needs an inevitable hip replacement, he said.

Anyone interested in the procedure can contact Western Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at 245-0484.


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