Life Before and After Your Hip Arthroscopy
Two inventions that emerged during the turn of the 19th century have revolutionised the tasks of the orthopaedic surgeon. The first was the X-ray machine, based on William Roentgen’s experiments in 1895, which appeared in hospitals in the early 1900s. The second was the arthroscope, first used by Tokyo Professor Kenji Takagi in 1919 and later perfected by a string of scientists and doctors. While X-rays are a valuable aid, Takagi’s invention plays the leading role during hip arthroscopy.
The modern instrument employs technology not available to those early pioneers. It consists of a flexible hollow tube that encloses a fibre-optic cable. When inserted into a joint through a small incision, the cable shines light from an LED source into the joint’s interior. It then carries images back to a miniature video camera, where they are recorded and displayed on a monitor screen for the surgeon to view. At first, doctors used this instrument only for diagnostic purposes. Today, however, many surgeons employ hip arthroscopy to perform a range of surgical interventions, offering patients a minimally invasive alternative to more radical open procedures.
You might need to undergo this type of “keyhole” surgery for several reasons. These include removing small pieces of bone or cartilage, repairing a torn labrum, ligament, or tendon, and treating femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) or hip dysplasia, naming just a few. Sometimes, the purpose is purely exploratory. However, if necessary and convenient, your surgeon might choose to continue with the appropriate intervention.
Whatever its purpose, once your hip arthroscopy is completed, you will need to observe some precautions. Here are a few guidelines you may find helpful. Firstly, you will continue to feel some discomfort for a while and will need to walk with the aid of crutches for a week or two. Be sure to keep the pressure on your hands, not your armpits, and place your weight on your unoperated leg when using stairs. Post-op recovery should not usually take more than three to six months if you keep up your physiotherapy.
Following your hip arthroscopy and some guidance from the physiotherapist, you will need to continue exercising at home to strengthen the muscles associated with the joint. Consequently, self-discipline will play a pivotal role in your recovery. In the meantime, avoid sitting on low, soft surfaces as standing up again could cause undue strain, and do not cross your legs when seated.
If you have been in pain for a while and struggle to walk, and your doctor intends to refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon, you would be well-advised to insist on attending the Life Wilgers Hospital in Pretoria if you should require hip arthroscopy.