Our hips are made up of ball and socket joints that are formed by the articulation between the heads of the femurs from our upper legs and the pelvic acetabulum. Rather than being designed for movement, the function of these joints is related to weight-bearing and stabilisation. As with any joints in the human body, these joints are subject to wear and tear and are susceptible to injury and damage. The repair of such injuries may require a procedure known as hip arthroscopy if more conservative treatments do not deliver the desired results.
For clarity, we answer a few commonly asked questions about hip arthroscopy:
What is Hip Arthroscopy?
This is a surgical procedure that allows surgeons to get access to the hip joint without the requirement of invasive, open surgery. Requiring only a small incision through the skin and soft tissue, a surgeon can insert an arthroscope, or small camera, into the joint to obtain a view of the interior. Additionally, the arthroscopy can also contain miniature surgical equipment that allows certain procedures to be done without opening the joint completely.
What is the Function of This Procedure?
A hip arthroscopy may be necessary to allow the surgeon to explore the joint from the inside in order to assess the damage, to make a further diagnosis about the condition of the joint, and to plan the resulting treatment more accurately. Additionally, it can also be used to perform certain surgical procedures in a less-invasive way than open joint surgery.
What Conditions Require This Procedure?
Initially, this procedure was typically used to explore and diagnose unexplained pain in the hips. While this is still a function, the advancement of technology has now allowed surgeons to also perform certain surgical procedures required to alleviate symptoms related to and speed up recovery of certain conditions and injuries. Indications for this type of surgery include:
- Femoroacetabular impingement
- Ischiofemoral impingement
- Labral tears
- The removal of loose bodies in the joint
- Chondral lesions
- Piriformis syndrome
- Osteochondritis dissecans
- Snapping iliotibial band
- Iliopsoas tendinopathy (Snapping psoas)
- Ligamentum teres injuries
- Trochanteric pain syndrome
What are the Benefits of Hip Arthroscopy?
The adoption of this procedure has brought about many benefits, especially related to the fact that it reduces the need for open surgery, which is very invasive. These benefits include:
- Less pain for the patient, as fewer nerves are damaged during surgery.
- Less joint stiffness during recovery.
- A shorter recovery period, and faster return to regular activities.
- A smaller risk of post-surgery complications.
Where Do You Go for a Hip Arthroscopy?
This is typically a procedure that you will be referred to, rather than elect yourself. Dr Jan de Vos is a leading surgeon in Pretoria who is a leading authority in the procedure of hip arthroscopy. Elected as the President of the South African Orthopaedic Association (SAOA) in 2014 and the President of the South African Arthroplasty Society in 2017, he is exceptionally knowledgeable on this subject, and a respected surgeon in this field. For more information about this type of surgery, contact his office: the Pretoria Hip, Knee and Shoulder Surgeon.