What is a hip arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is performed through small incisions using a camera to visualize the inside of a joint. Through several small incisions (about 1 centimeter each) your surgeon will insert a camera into one incision, and small instruments through the other incisions.

What is the benefit of hip arthroscopy compared to open surgery?

The nice part about hip arthroscopy is that it is much less invasive than traditional hip surgery.

This means:

  • Early rehab
  • Accelerated rehab course
  • Outpatient procedure
  • Smaller incisions
  • Early return to sport

What conditions can be treated with hip arthroscopy?

Labral Tear

The labrum of the hip is a cuff of thick tissue that surrounds the hip socket. The labrum helps to support the hip joint. When a labral tear of the hip occurs, a piece of this tissue can become pinched in the joint causing pain and catching sensations.

Loose Bodies

Loose bodies are pieces of cartilage that form within the joint. They look like small marbles floating within the joint space. These loose bodies can become caught within the hip during movements.

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. Also, hip arthroscopy can be used to perform a psoas tendon release in cases of internal snapping hip syndrome.

Cartilage Damage

In patients with focal cartilage damage, meaning not widespread 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 removal of that piece of cartilage.

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 a specific finding of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) within the hip joint, and may benefit from removal of abnormal growth of bone causing this impingement. This is only possible in the very early stages of arthritis, and even then may not offer relief of symptoms.

Psoas impingement

Psoas tendon may cause groin pain whilst performing some activities, this may occur in the native hip or following a total hip replacement. Using an arthroscope the tendon may be released using small incisions.

Hip replacement:

The Phases of a Hip Replacement

  1. Ensure that you are fit for the operation.
  2. Admit to hospital
    1. Surgery and intensive care unit
    2. Mobilise on crutches with the help of a physiotherapist.
  3. Discharge home – this is the period in which you recover from the operation. You do gentle exercises and give your body time to heal. This is not the time to race as the ultimate goal of surgery is a pain free hip that will last for decades. Therefore avoid cutting corners in the short term, as this may compromise the long term results.
  4. 6 weeks – this is the time that it takes for the implants to solidly grow into the bone and usually corresponds to the period that it takes for the soft tissues to fully heal up. Usually you will see your surgeon at this stage for a check x-ray and then progress with full exercise and return to leisure activities if that is what you want.