What is hip arthroscopy?
Hip arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows doctors to view the hip joint by inserting a specialized instrument (arthroscope) through a small surgical cut (incision) made on the skin and other soft tissues over the hip joint.
Hip arthroscopy is used to diagnose and treat several hip problems without the need for a big incision. Although the initial investigations on the procedure began in the early 1930s, it was not until the 1980s that the hip arthroscopy became a mainstream hip treatment.
During the procedure, the surgeon inserts a small instrument with a tiny camera, called an arthroscope, into the hip joint. The camera displays the pictures of the inside of the hip joint on a video monitor. The surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments for treating certain diseases of the hip joint.
Because the instruments are thin and the incision is small, hip arthroscopic management results in less pain, less joint stiffness, and often a faster recovery so that the patient may return to their normal and active lifestyle.
Who needs hip arthroscopy?
Hip arthroscopy is performed for the management of various conditions related to the hip joint. Your doctor may recommend hip arthroscopy when conservative treatment such as rest, physiotherapy, and oral medications or injections fail to improve your condition.
The indications for hip arthroscopy are as follows:
- Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and associated labral tears: This is a disorder in which an extra bone grows in the hip joint; the bony overgrowths are called spurs. They damage the soft tissues of the hip during movement. It may cause labral tears on the labrum (cartilage ring) that follows the outside rim of the hip joint socket
- Degenerative diseases of the hip joint (e.g., arthritis)
- Loose bodies in the hip joint: These are fragments of the bone or cartilage that become loose and move around within the joint
- Dysplasia of the hip joint: It is a condition in which the hip socket is abnormally shallow.
- Avascular necrosis (death of the bone tissue due to interruption in blood supply)
- Snapping hip syndromes: They cause a tendon to rub across the outside of the joint and may damage the tendon due to repeated rubbing
- Synovitis (inflammation of the tissues that surround the joint)
- Hip joint infection
- Certain muscle tears around the hip joint
How successful is hip arthroscopy?
Hip arthroscopy generally has a success rate of approximately 80%, although the individual success rates may vary from case to case. The surgery is safe and successful in providing relief in many people who enjoy full and unrestricted activities after the procedure.
Lifestyle changes to reduce the impact of activities (e.g., switching from running to swimming or cycling) may be necessary for some people. In some cases, however, if the damage is severe, it may not be completely reversed, and the procedure may not be successful.
Complications, although uncommon, include