Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical or diagnostic procedure performed through small (about one centimeter) incisions using a camera at the end of an arthroscope to visualize the inside of a joint. Your surgeon will insert a camera into one incision and small instruments through the other incisions.
Benefits of Hip Arthroscopy
Hip arthroscopy is less invasive than traditional hip surgery because it uses smaller incisions and causes fewer traumas to the area. This means:
- Less pain
- Faster healing
- Accelerated rehab course
- Outpatient procedure
- Early return to sports and activities of daily living
When is Hip Arthroscopy Used?
Hip arthroscopy can be used in the following situations:
- Labral Tear hip arthroscopy – The labrum of the hip is a cuff of thick tissue that surrounds the hip socket. The labrum helps to support the hip joint and can tear, causing pinching of the hip joint. Arthroscopic hip surgery is used to mend the tear.
- Hip arthrosocopy for loose bodies – Loose bodies are pieces of cartilage that form within the joint. Hip arthroscopy is used to remove them.
- Hip arthrosocopy for snapping hip syndrome – Snapping hip syndrome has several causes, some of which can be treated with hip arthroscopy. If something is catching within the hip joint, hip arthroscopy can be used to relieve this snapping. It can be used to perform a psoas tendon release in cases of internal snapping hip syndrome.
- Cartilage damage hip arthroscopy – In patients with focal cartilage damage, meaning not widespread hip arthritis, hip arthroscopy may be helpful. These patients may sustain an injury causing a piece of cartilage to break away from the surface of the bone. These patients may benefit from arthroscopic hip surgery to remove of that piece of cartilage.
- Hip arthroscopy for early arthritis – This is a controversial topic, as patients who have arthritis pain generally will not benefit from a hip arthroscopy. The patients who tend to benefit have hip impingement and may benefit from arthroscopic hip surgery to remove the bone spurs causing this impingement.
Possible Complications from Hip Arthroscopy
While hip arthroscopy complications are rare, there are still risks to be aware of. The biggest risk of arthroscopic hip surgery is injuring other structures and tissues in the hip joint area including during the distraction process needed for access to the hip. The area is rich in nerves, such as the sciatic nerve, and these nerves could be injured during hip arthroscopy.
As with any surgery, hip arthroscopy can lead to infection. It also might not relieve the pain you are experiencing.