Swan Song For Ballet Dancers

Ballet dancers less likely than others to return to professional dancing following arthroscopy surgery on hip

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A new study has identified factors that would allow a professional dancer to resume performances after undergoing arthroscopy scope of the hip.

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed with a type of endoscope in which an examination and sometimes treatment of the interior of a joint is performed.

The study results suggest a projected time frame for recovery and the likelihood of being able to return to dance, said study leader Douglas Padgett, M.D., chief of Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS).

Researchers found that ballet dancers are significantly less likely to be able to return to dancing compared to modern dancers or dance theater performers. Older age and hip abnormalities also play a role in whether the arthroscopy patient will be able to return to their craft.

Hip injury is prevalent among dancers because of intensive loading and landing activities requiring an extreme range of motions and motor skills. Treatment for injuries generally range from physical therapy to arthroscopic or open surgery.

The study followed 40 professional dancers (15 ballet dancers, 11 modern dancers and 14 musical theater dancers) who underwent arthroscopy conducted by a single surgeon at HSS and found, of the 31 female and nine male dancers, 73 percent (29) were able to resume professional dancing. Average follow-up was 30 months.

Ballet dancers were least likely to be able to return to dancing with only 60 percent of the surgery recipients returning to their craft professionally following surgery. Modern dancers and musical theater dancers were able to return to dancing at 73 percent and 79 percent, respectively.

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Review Date: 
February 18, 2011
Last Updated:
February 21, 2011