Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to examine or treat symptomatic hip disease including inflammatory arthritis, hip pain, congenital disorders, and to fix any injuries and impingements. The goal is to regain mobility and stability, followed by strength and endurance. There are many advantages of treating a hip condition arthroscopically.
Traditional (Open) Hip Surgery
This approach requires a single, long incision to view the joint. In some cases, muscles and tendons are cut or removed. As a result, collateral damage would be made to the surrounding tissue, leading to unnecessary pain, prolonged recovery and potential complications. Traditional hip surgery may be necessary in the following circumstances:
- Total Hip Replacement – the damaged parts of the hip are removed and replaced with metal, ceramic or plastic implants. This is an option when the joint is so damaged that it causes constant pain and significantly interferes with daily function.
- Total Joint Resurfacing – this is an option to avoid hip replacement for osteoarthritis, post- trauma arthritis and other conditions. This surgery repairs the damaged head of the thighbone with a metal implant.
- Osteotomy – this major surgery removes damaged parts of the hip and the joint is repositioned to correct a deformity and improve alignment or function.
Arthroscopic Hip Surgery
To begin the procedure, the patient is usually put under general anesthesia, although regional anesthesia can be used. Then, the patient’s hip is put in traction, pulling the ball away from the socket in the joint so the doctor can make the small incision to insert the arthroscope, or tiny camera, and treat the joint according to the patient’s need. The arthroscope is connected to a television screen, which the doctor looks at to see the hip joint clearly and the damages so the appropriate treatment can then be given. Separate incisions will need to be made for the instruments used to treat the condition.
Advantages of Hip Arthroscopy
- Quicker recovery process
- Minimized damage to surrounding tissue
- Reduced pain
- Reduced scarring
- Preventative treatment of hip arthritis
- Preventative treatment of hip replacements
Hip Conditions treated Arthroscopically
- Loose bodies
- Hip joint infection
- Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)
- Labral tears
- Snapping hip syndromes
Hip Arthroscopy requires a deft surgeon
Hip arthroscopy is a challenging procedure because of all the vital structures that must be avoided. Success depends on strict diagnostic criteria and patient selection. It is safe and effective. Recovery can take up to 2 months with rehabilitation and pain management. Complications are rare, but there is a slight risk of blood clots, nerve damage, and failure to relieve pain.
Dr. Walter A. Thomas is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with an emphasis on sports medicine. If you are suffering from hip pain, or have been diagnosed with a hip condition, Dr. Thomas may be able to help. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Thomas to learn more about your condition and hip arthroscopy. Our offices are located in Thousand Oaks, CA and we treat patients throughout Southern California.