What is hip arthroscopy?

Thanks to hip arthroscopy, doctors are able to see the hip joint with a tiny camera after small incisions are made through the skin, allowing them to diagnose hip problems.

The camera itself is known as an arthroscope and is capable of transmitting footage through to a video monitor in the operating room, guiding a surgeon in their movements. It is the thin nature of the arthroscope and surgical implements used which negates the need for large incisions to be made – this also helps to shorten the comparative recovery time.

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Why might I need hip arthroscopy?

Typically, hip arthroscopy is recommended after a condition fails to respond to treatments which are non-surgical, such as physical therapy, medications and rest.

Among the orthopaedic conditions which can lead to hip problems requiring hip arthroscopy are:

  • chondral labral injury
  • femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), a disorder caused by extra bone development
  • dysplasia, a condition caused by an abnormally shallow hip socket
  • snapping hip syndromes, which involve the rubbing of the tendon against the joint
  • synovitis, a condition which involves inflamed tissues around the joint
  • and loose bodies, which are loose cartilage or bone fragments that move around the joint.

What can I expect from the procedure?

The length of a hip arthroscopy is entirely pertaining to the amount of work which needs to be done.

Before entering the operating room you will have the chance to ask your doctor any questions you have about the procedure, and any concerns you may have. You will also discuss your mode of anaesthesia with your anaesthetist. The start of the procedure often involves the leg being put in traction to allow your surgeon to insert instruments more easily.

Your surgeon makes a small puncture no bigger than a buttonhole, and fluid is pumped around the area to improve visibility. After the problem has been examined, there are a number of procedures which doctors can perform, including trimming bone spurs which have been caused by FAI, the smoothing or repair of cartilage, and the removal of synovial tissue which has become inflamed.

Recovery time

Recovery from a hip arthroscopy is expected to take at least a month, but the length is determined by the nature of the surgery itself. Physical therapy in order to improve range of movement can begin almost immediately, and many hip arthroscopy patients are advised to change the way in which they exercise – for example, swimming instead of running, in order to reduce the high impact on the joint.

For more information about hip arthroscopy and how we might be able to help you, fill out our contact form below to make an enquiry or just to ask a question. We’re happy to help.