Hip arthroscopy is a surgical technique that allows surgeons to view the hip joint without making a large incision in the skin. Hip arthroscopy can be used to perform minimally invasive procedures to correct issues in and around the hip joint.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The socket is formed by the acetabulum, which is part of the large pelvis bone. The ball is the femoral head, which is the upper end of the femur (thighbone). The surfaces of the ball and socket are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth tissue that provides shock absorption. Ligaments connecting the ball to the socket make up the hip capsule which help to provide stability to the hip. The hip joint plays an important role in everyday movements such as sitting, twisting, and rotational movements of the leg.
What to Expect
A hip arthroscopy is commonly performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision called a portal. An arthroscope, a small 4 mm fiber optic high resolution camera, is then inserted into the joint. The camera displays images of the hip on a video screen. Other portals or small incisions can be made in order to use small surgical instruments and access the entirety of the hip joint and outside of the hip capsule.
Hip Arthroscopy can be used to treat a variety of conditions:
- Debridement of loose bodies: Bone chips or torn cartilage debris cause hip pain and decreased range of motion and can be removed with hip arthroscopy
- Removal of adhesions: Adhesions are areas of built up scar tissue that can limit movement and cause pain
- Repair of torn labrum: The labrum lines the outer edge of the “socket” or acetabulum to ensure a good fit. Tears can occur in the labrum causing hip pain
- Removal of bone spurs: Extra bone growth caused by injury or arthritis that damages the ends of the bones cause pain and limited joint mobility
- Partial Synovectomy: Removal of portions of the inflamed synovium (joint lining) in patients with inflammatory arthritis can help to decrease the patient’s pain. However, a complete synovectomy requires an open, larger hip incision
- Debridement of joint surfaces: Conditions such as arthritis can cause the breakdown of tissue or bone in the joint
- Repair after trauma: Repair of fractures or torn ligaments caused by trauma
- Evaluation and diagnosis: Patients with unexplained pain, swelling, stiffness and instability in the hip that is unresponsive to conservative treatment may undergo hip arthroscopy for evaluation and diagnosis of their condition
Recovery and Risks
Recovery from Hip Arthroscopy ultimately depends on the procedure performed during the hip arthroscopy. The procedure is often done at an outpatient surgery center meaning you can go home on the same day. You will likely be on crutches and may need a hip brace for the first few weeks. Because smaller incisions are made during arthroscopy, there is often less pain for patients, less joint stiffness.
Hip arthroscopy is a surgical procedure. Complications from hip arthroscopy are uncommon but with any surgery, there are certain risks involved. Any surgery in the hip joint carries a small risk of injury to the surrounding blood vessels, or the joint itself. There is risk of nerve injury that may cause numbness, but this is usually temporary. There are also small risks of infection, as well as blood clots forming in the legs (deep vein thrombosis)