If you’ve ever experienced pain in your hips, you should know how debilitating this can be. This is because the acetabulofemoral joint between the acetabulum of the pelvis and the femur of the leg is primarily responsible for supporting the weight of the body. This is the case when standing (static posture), as well as when walking or running (dynamic posture). Pain in this region thus affects our basic movements and posture. Luckily, as medical technology and techniques improve, we are finding better ways of treating conditions such as these. Hip arthroscopy surgery is specifically one of these procedures that have revolutionised the way we treat conditions and injuries affecting the hips.
What Is Hip Arthroscopy Surgery?
This procedure generally refers to the examination of the interior of a joint – in this case, the hip joint – making use of an arthroscope. This scope consists of a flexible, fibre-optic tube that is fitted with a tiny camera. This camera transmits magnified visuals of the joint to a monitor for the surgeon to view.
Hip arthroscopy surgery has been around for a few decades, during which the techniques and equipment have been refined immensely. Today, this technology allows surgeons to inspect joints and make more accurate diagnoses, as well as treat certain conditions that previously required open and very invasive procedures, or sometimes were not treatable at all.
Common Conditions Treated with This Procedure
While there are a number of uses for arthroscopy, including diagnosing or determining the extent of a large number of hip afflictions, this type of surgery is most often used for:
- The removal of painful bone spurs, loose pieces of cartilage (caused by injuries or accidents), and joint lining that is diseased or inflamed
- Femoroacetabular impingement (this is a notable cause of osteoarthritis and can severely limit a person’s range of movement)
- Trimming or repairing labral tears – the labrum is the cartilage that lines the sockets of the hips
The Advantages of Hip Arthroscopy Surgery
Compared to traditional hip surgery, arthroscopy offers a large number of benefits. Some of these include:
- It may have the ability to delay the advancement of arthritis, as the cause can be treated in its early stages.
- It can potentially delay the need for a joint replacement, as the conditions that cause osteoarthritis of the hip can be treated pre-emptively.
- It is much less invasive, which also means it causes much less trauma. This, in turn, leads to less pain and scarring.
- Generally, this procedure can be done on an out-patient basis, minimising the need for hospitalisation.
- The recovery period is usually relatively short.
Potential Risks Associated with Hip Arthroscopy Surgery
This type of surgery is considered a low-risk procedure by most surgeons because it is much less invasive than open surgery. Associated risks are not unique to this procedure, but rather general risks associated with most surgical procedures, and could include nerve damage around the groin area, damage to blood vessels, infection while the wound is healing, and the inability to completely treat the condition in question.
The Recovery Process
Recovery is often very specific to the individual and their health status, as well as the severity of the condition they are being treated for. That said, the relief from pain associated with the condition is usually immediate. There will be some pain associated with the healing of the wound and potential bruising, but full use of the joint should return within weeks, compared to months for more invasive procedures.
For more information on hip arthroscopy surgery, talk to the medical professionals at Pretoria Hip, Knee & Shoulder Surgeons.