Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions affecting the hip joint. This procedure can be used to confirm the diagnosis of various imaging procedures, such as X-rays and MRIs, as it provides your doctor with a three-dimensional, real time image of the affected area, allowing for the most accurate diagnostic results. If damage or abnormalities are detected during the diagnostic procedure, repairs can often be made during the very same procedure through minimally invasive techniques that provide patients with many advantages over traditional hip surgery.
Hip arthroscopy can be performed on patients with several different hip conditions, including:
Arthroscopy is considered an ideal treatment option for many different conditions affecting the hip, as it offers smaller incisions, shorter recovery times and less scarring. Patients can often return home the same day as their procedure and return to their regular activities in just a few weeks, while enjoying less pain, full range of motion and restored joint function.
While arthroscopy offers many advantages over conventional hip surgery, it is not right for all patients, especially those with conditions affecting hard-to-visualize areas. Conventional surgery may be more appropriate for these patients. Your doctor will decide which procedure is best for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition and overall health.
During the hip arthroscopy procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision near the affected area of the hip and insert an arthroscope, a long flexible tube with a camera on the end that displays images of the inside of the hip joint on a video monitor for the surgeon to view in real time. During this diagnostic part of the procedure, your hip will be examined for any signs of tearing, damage or degeneration to the ligaments, cartilage and other internal structures.
If damage is detected, it can often be repaired through the same procedure by creating a few more small incisions through which tiny surgical instruments are inserted. These instruments allow the surgeon to replace damaged cartilage, join together torn ends, remove loose bodies or realign the joint to minimize pain and inflammation. Once the repair has been performed, the tools and arthroscope are removed and the incisions are sutured closed. A dressing will be applied to the area, which will later be replaced with smaller bandages while the incisions heal.
After the hip arthroscopy procedure, patients may experience pain, swelling and bruising at the incision sites for several days. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication if needed in order to manage this pain. Applying ice can also help relieve pain and help the area heal properly. Most patients will need to use crutches for seven to ten days. You will be encouraged to get up and walk around as soon and as often as you feel comfortable.
In order to restore function and strength to the hip joint, patients will need to undergo a physical rehabilitation program after surgery customized for their individual condition. Physical rehabilitation may include weight bearing exercises, hip mobilization techniques, flexibility exercises and other activities that target the quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings, abductors and adductors. The length of the rehabilitation program may vary depending on each patient’s individual condition.
Most patients can return to work within a week after their procedure, and can begin light physical activity after just a few weeks. Full recovery may take up to 12 weeks or longer.
While hip arthroscopy is considered safer and more efficient than conventional hip procedures, there are still certain risks associated with any type of surgery. Some of these risks may include:
Patients should discuss these and other risks with their doctor before undergoing hip arthroscopy.
To learn more about this procedure and to find out whether or not it is right for you, please call us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced doctors.