A Centre of Excellence for Hip Surgery and Arthroscopy in Pretoria

Jul 25, 2018 | Articles

A Centre of Excellence for Hip Surgery and Arthroscopy in Pretoria

The incidence of joint pain, often with an accompanying reduction in mobility, has been growing in recent years. More alarming than the number of people affected, however, is that a significant percentage of them are presenting with these symptoms at a noticeably earlier age than has previously been the case. Given the advances that have taken place in the field of hip, knee, and shoulder surgery and arthroscopy, in particular, the result is that the Life Wilgers Hospital in Pretoria, in common with many of the other orthopaedic facilities in South Africa, has been experiencing a marked increase in the number of patients who are in need of one of these surgical procedures.

While it is not the only reason for performing this type of procedure, there is no doubt that the condition known as osteoarthritis is the most common. Once seen almost exclusively in those aged 65 years and over, a growing number of patients in their fifties are now presenting symptoms of this potentially crippling condition. Interestingly, it is a trend that shows a high degree of correlation with the concurrent increase in obesity. It is, in fact, possible that the increased demand for hip arthroscopy and surgery in Pretoria and elsewhere could be the direct result of increased pressure on joints leading to the earlier onset of osteoarthritis.

The condition causes the erosion of the protective layers of cartilage that line the articulating surfaces of the bones involved – in this case, the ball-like head of the femur and the acetabular socket. Without these layers, bone moves against bone and the friction causes roughening of those surfaces, which prevents them from articulating smoothly. Untreated, the joint becomes increasingly stiff and painful to the point where mobility becomes severely compromised.

Arthroscopy for diagnostic purposes or for minimally-invasive hip surgery is a specialist orthopaedic procedure for which the Life Wilgers Hospital in Pretoria has gained an enviable reputation, both in South Africa and in a number of overseas countries. Performed via two or three small incisions, these so-called “keyhole” surgical procedures limit the risk of infection, while minimising unavoidable trauma and thus reducing post-operative recovery time. Apart from providing welcome relief for osteoarthritis sufferers, there are numerous other applications for arthroscopic procedures.

In practice, hip arthroscopy provides Pretoria specialists with a convenient alternative to more radical surgery in which it is often necessary to expose the entire joint. For example, it is used for the removal of inflamed tissue that occurs in synovitis or for irrigation of the joint to treat an infection or to wash out loose particles of bone and cartilage. Other common applications include the treatment of tears to the labrum or ligamentum teres, the removal of cysts on the femoral head or acetabulum, as well as to perform biopsies for histological examination and diagnosis.

It is widely recognised that physiotherapy plays an important role both in preparing patients for their upcoming hip arthroscopy and surgery, and to speed up the post-op recovery. The surgical team in Pretoria is well known for its exceptional expertise and experience within this specialised field of orthopaedics, as well as for its use of state-of-the-art equipment and innovative technology to ensure the best possible outcome for each and every patient under its care.