What You Should Know about Hip Arthroscopy

Oct 30, 2020 | Articles

So, you’ve heard about a hip arthroscopy, but you’re not sure what exactly to expect or whether you should be nervous or not. It’s worth noting that this procedure represents a huge step forward in both efficiency and efficacy as far as surgical procedures go.

We answer a couple of questions to help you understand the procedure and impact of hip arthroscopy better, starting right at the beginning.

What is hip arthroscopy?

The procedure requires the surgeon to make a small incision, just wide enough so that a fibre-optic video camera attached to a narrow tube can be inserted into the joint area. The camera provides the surgeon with a visual of the joint to better diagnose joint-related issues. The tube can also contain minute surgical implements that can be used to perform certain procedures without the need for open surgery.

It is significantly less invasive than traditional joint surgery, as only a small incision is required compared to open surgery. This also means that it is typically less painful, associated with less risk, and heals quicker than the wounds necessitated by open surgery.

When would hip arthroscopy be necessary?

Pain in the hips are often caused by inflammation, which can also lead to swelling and stiffness of the joint. Arthroscopy is usually recommended to patients who are experiencing hip pain, not caused by an arthritic condition, and who is not responding to the typical non-surgical treatment of inflammation. It is often useful in the treatment of painful symptoms related to soft tissues around the joint, or damage to the labrum or articular cartilage. These conditions can be caused by:

  • Injuries
  • Labral tears
  • Synovitis
  • Femoroacetabular impingement
  • Snapping hip syndrome
  • Loose fragments of cartilage or bones in the joint
  • Infection

What will the surgeon do during the procedure?

The surgeon will start by pulling the hip away from the joint in order to create a big enough space through which the arthroscope can fit. They then make a small incision, about the size of a button hole, to insert the arthroscope into the joint. In addition to viewing the joint to make a diagnosis about the patient’s condition, the surgeon can then also smooth off torn cartilage, remove fragments from the joint, do labral repair, remove inflamed tissue, trim bone spurs, or release tight muscles.

What is the recovery process like?

While any surgical procedure comes with certain risks, complications during or resulting from hip arthroscopy is quite uncommon. The surgeon will give you instructions to be followed closely for fast recovery. Because it’s not open surgery, there is less damage to the muscles and other soft tissue, so pain is usually less and the recovery process faster.

Where do I go for a hip arthroscopy?

For this procedure, you require the services of a surgeon who specialises in orthopaedics. Dr Jan de Vos at Pretoria Hip, Knee and Shoulder Surgeons is a leading authority on this subject matter. For more information on his state-of-the-art approach to diagnosis and treatment, including hip arthroscopy, feel free to contact our office.