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Thomas Ellis, MD


Thomas Ellis, MD

Position: Associate Professor of Orthopaedics; Vice Chair, Department of Orthopaedics; Chief, Division of Hip Preservation; Director, Hip Preservation Fellowship Program; Team Physician, The OSU Sports Medicine Center

Contact Information:

  • Clinic: (614) 293-BONE (2663)
  • Office: (614) 293-3541
  • Fax: (614) 293-6250

Medical School: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, 1992
Internship: Orthopaedic Surgery Flexible Internship, Texas A&M University and Scott & White Hospital Temple, TX, 1993
Residency: Orthopaedic Surgery Residency, Texas A&M University and Scott & White Hospital, Temple, TX, 1997
Fellowship: Total Joint Arthroplasty Fellowship (Charles A. Engh, M.D.), Anderson Orthopaedic Research Institute Alexandria, VA, 1998
Fellowship: Orthopaedic Trauma Fellowship (Richard F. Kyle, M.D.) Minneapolis, MN, 199
Fellowship: John Border Memorial European AO Trauma Fellowship, Bern, Switzerland/Hannover, Germany, 1999

Clinical Interests: Hip arthroscopy, labrum hip, labral tear hip, hip impingement, hip dysplasia, ganz pelvic osteotomy, pelvic osteotomy, hip resurfacing, hip replacement, anterior total hip replacement, femoroacetabular impingement, hip pain in young adults, lower extremity orthopaedic trauma.

Research Interests: Hip Arthroscopy Outcomes, Perioperative Pain Management, Orthopaedic Trauma.

Curriculum Vitae

Notes: Dr. Ellis, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, is an associate professor, Department Orthopaedic Surgery at Ohio State University Medical School. He came to Ohio State from Oregon Health Sciences University, where he was a faculty member from 1999-2007. His practice is limited to hip pain in the young adult, and he has developed expertise in the treatment of hip labral tears, femoroacetabular impingement, snapping hip, hip dysplasia, hip arthritis, and avascular necrosis. He has extensive experience in hip arthroscopy for labral tears/femoroacetabular impingement, as well as, the Ganz periacetabular osteotomy for hip dysplasia, femoral osteotomies, hip resurfacing, and hip replacement.

As younger adults continue to be very active, the identification of hip injuries in this patient group has greatly increased. Professional athletes, recreational athletes, and dancers commonly fall into this patient population. In most patients, the acetabular labrum is torn, often due to an underlying structural problem of the hip called femoroacetabular impingement, or FAI. FAI occurs when a shape mismatch between the ball and the socket of the hip joint exists. As the hip flexes, the front of the ball hits the front of the hip socket causing an “impingement”. This impingement can damage the labrum and the adjacent acetabular articular cartilage resulting in hip pain. If physical therapy does not relieve this pain, the condition is treated with surgery to reshape the hip and prevent the impingement of the femoral head on the acetabular rim. Historically, the labral tears were treated with removal of the torn part of the labrum, but it is the preference of Dr. Ellis to repair the labrum whenever possible. This reshaping and/or repair work restores the anatomy of the hip, giving the patient the greatest chance of avoiding early arthritis or other related hip problems in the future.

Until recently, these procedures were performed through large incisions and required cutting the hip bone and dislocating the hip. However, Dr. Ellis has extensive experience completing these procedures through small incisions. This minimally invasive surgery, called hip arthroscopy, uses a small camera placed inside the hip joint to guide the repair and/or reshaping work. Hip arthroscopy is similar to the surgery done for knee injuries. The minimally invasive approach utilized by Dr. Ellis reduces patient rehabilitation time and some complications associated with the larger incision approach.

A second condition that Dr. Ellis has expertise in treating is acetabular dypslasia. In acetabular dypslasia, the hip socket is poorly developed, resulting in a socket that is shallow and shaped like a saucer, rather than a cup. The top part of the socket is obliquely inclined, and it incompletely covers the ball. This results in abnormally high stress on the outer edge of the socket or acetabulum and leads to early early damage to the acetabular articular cartilage (white substance on the end of a chicken bone) or the adjacent acetabular labrum. Once this damage occurs, individuals often begin experiencing hip pain.

Most individuals with acetabular dypslasia are not painful during childhood. However, during adolescence and early adulthood, many of these individuals develop pain. The pain is typically dull and achy and may be in the groin, side of hip or buttock. Occasionally individuals complain of sharp catching pain in association with the aching pain.

The diagnosis is confirmed with an x-ray. Occasionally, the orthopaedic surgeon will obtain an MRI arthogram (MRI with dye placed in the hip joint) to get a better look at the condition of the joint cartilage and labrum. The labrum is a soft tissue bumper that that attaches to the rim of the socket.

Treatment of hip dysplasia depends on the age of the patient, severity of dysplasia, presence or absence of arthritis, degree of symptoms, and patient’s expectations. In patients with mild dysplasia and symptoms, physical therapy for core strengthening or a short course of anti-inflammatory medications may be indicated. If patients are more symptomatic or have mild symptoms but a more severe degree of dyplasia, a surgery called a periacetabular osteotomy may be indicated. Also referred to as a Ganz osteotomy or a PAO, this surgery involves cutting the pelvic bone and then rotating the socket to a more normal position. The cut socket is then reattached to the pelvis using screws. Patients with hip dysplasia that have painful hip arthritis are often best served with hip replacement surgery. The periacetabular osteotomy surgery is usually performed on patients under age 40, but occasionally, individuals over 40 are candidates for this surgery. In most cases, individuals over 40 with painful hip dysplasia already have moderate arthritis, and are therefore usually best treated with hip replacement surgery.