Hip Arthroscopic Surgery

A Quick Guide to Hip Arthroscopic Surgery

Are you wondering whether hip arthroscopic surgery is right for you? Regardless of the procedure, the decision to have surgery should be taken very seriously as there are always risks involved. The best way to determine whether the procedure is worthwhile is to learn as much as you can about it and weigh the odds appropriately. Luckily enough, hip arthroscopic surgery is much less risky than hip replacement surgery, which is an invasive surgery.

What is hip arthroscopic surgery?

The hip arthroscopy surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that is a much better alternative to the “open” traditional surgery. The most appealing prospect of this surgery is that it is an outpatient procedure. That means that a person can have surgery in the morning and, provided that nothing goes wrong, can leave the same day. Hip arthroscopic surgery involves the use of a regional anesthetic, which works to numb the body only from the waist down. This surgery is performed by creating two small incisions in the skin near the affected hip. A very thin camera, called an arthroscope, is inserted into one of the incisions while the surgical instruments are inserted through the other incision. Sometimes a portable x-ray machine will be used to ensure that the instruments are in the correct position as they work. The tools are then used to cut away the tattered cartilage which had been causing the discomfort, pain, or immobility. During this procedure the surgeon may also decide to drill holes into the areas of bone where significant cartilage has been lost. This helps to stimulate the formation of new cartilage in the area.

Who is a good candidate for the surgery?

Although arthroscopic surgery is definitely a less invasive, and some might say safer, alternative to open hip surgery, it may not be the best option for everyone. Many of the people who end up getting arthroscopic surgery of the hip are athletes, particularly those who participate in sports such as soccer, running, or golf. There are several conditions that can be treated with arthroscopic surgery. One such condition is called a labrum tear. The labrum is a thick bit of tissue that covers the inner portion of the socket, sort of like a pillow. When this becomes torn one is likely to experience pain in the hip and even a catching sensation as the hip is used. Another condition is one in which bits of cartilage loosens and detaches where it can detach to free-float in the joint space. This condition also can produce a catching or grinding sensation.

What is recovery time like?

Not everyone may experience the same type of recovery due to the differences within each person’s body. Some people heal exceptionally well while others take a bit longer. This does not typically reflect upon the surgeon’s abilities but is simply a fact of biology. Directly after the procedure most patients are expected to use crutches to aid in movement. This is no to say that the hip cannot be used at all, but rather that the amount of pressure applied to the hip should be as minimal as possible. The patient will have to return to the clinic or hospital after about a week in order to have the sutures removed. After the sutures are removed most patients will be expected to begin a physical therapy routine in order to help strengthen and restore movement to the hip. One should expect to endure about six weeks of physical therapy before they can resume their everyday activities, particularly sports. Unfortunately, just because physical activity is allowed during this time does not mean that it will be painless. In most cases the patient experiences a certain degree of pain with movement for the first three to six months following the procedure.

Although there are certain risks and the possibility of complications involved in a hip arthroscopic surgery, it may be the perfect solution for someone who has been suffering from pain or untreatable catching in the hip and does not wish to undergo a major surgery.