Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose the cause of hip pain and to treat conditions not requiring total hip replacement.
Fewer than one in 10 orthopedic surgeons perform hip arthroscopy. However, El Camino Hospital’s Orthopedic Institutes have three surgeons who regularly perform hip arthroscopy, which is the fastest growing arthroscopic procedure. Now deeply experienced in this procedure, our surgeons see the benefits it offers patients every day.
What is Hip Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that gives doctors a way of looking inside your joint and performing procedures - without performing invasive surgery. A tiny camera at the end of a slender tube is inserted through a small incision. The images are shown on a high definition digital screen, allowing your surgeon to analyze the joint and diagnose the cause of pain.
Originally used only as a diagnosis tool, arthroscopy now includes treatment options that take advantage of the small incisions and precise manipulations that the tiny camera and miniature surgical instruments allow. Now an arthroscopic procedure can include both diagnosis and treatment at the same time.
How Can Hip Arthroscopy Help Me?
Hip arthroscopy offers many benefits to our patients, whether the arthroscopy is intended to diagnose the cause of pain or treat a specific condition:
- A minimally invasive procedure means less blood loss
- Faster healing results in a short hospital stay
- More efficient recovery gets you back to your life and work right away
- A clear diagnosis from your doctor eases worry and concern
- Relief from hip pain leads to a more active life
What is Involved in a Hip Arthroscopy Procedure?
Hip arthroscopy procedures are generally short-stay, with most patients in and out within 24 hours. The procedure begins with an anesthetic - either epidural, spinal, or general. You and your doctor will determine which method is best for you.
You'll be given intravenous antibiotics to protect you from infection during the procedure. Then your hip will be treated with an antiseptic solution and prepped for small incisions. The miniature camera is then inserted and the doctor can begin to diagnose the source of your hip pain. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment begins.
After your procedure, you’ll be encouraged to move around and even walk as soon as possible, as this is critical to a successful healing process. You'll be offered crutches or a walker for comfort and you can stop using them as soon as you are able. A few days after your procedure, you'll visit your doctor’s office to change bandages and check in on your progress.
What Conditions Can Be Treated with Hip Arthroscopy
If your hip pain does not respond to nonsurgical treatment (rest, physical therapy, and medication or injections to reduce inflammation), hip arthroscopy may be recommended. It can relieve the painful symptoms of many conditions, including:
- Femoracetabular impingement (FAI), a disorder where bone spurs around the socket or the femoral head rub against surrounding tissues
- Dysplasia, where the hip socket is abnormally shallow, causing the hip labrum to tear
- Snapping hip syndrome, when a tendon rubs across the outside of the joint
- Synovitis, which causes inflammation in the tissues surrounding the hip joint
- Loose bodies, a condition where fragments of bone or cartilage become loose and float around within the joint
- Hip joint infection
What Happens After Hip Arthroscopy?
Directly after your procedure, we’ll work together to develop a plan for your physical therapy and rehabilitation. This is when the work shifts from us to you. You'll need to stay active and mobile to encourage proper healing in your body and build strength.
You need to work the joint so it can become flexible, strong, and healthy during the healing process and before your body can create the corrosive fluids that cause the problems in the first place. By building strength in the muscles surrounding the hip, you'll cushion and support the joint better.