Hip arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows doctors to view the hip joint without making a large incision (cut) through the skin and other soft tissues. Arthroscopy is used to diagnose and treat a wide range of hip problems.

During hip arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your hip joint. The camera displays pictures on a video monitor, and your surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments.

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What is Hip arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy has become well recognized in the field of orthopaedics as a minimally invasive surgical technique. 

It started with its implementation in knee-related corrective surgeries, and gradually finding its place in surgeries of most joints ranging from fingers to the hip joint. 

What are the advantages of Hip arthroscopy?

The advantage of arthroscopic surgeries is that the recovery period from the time of the surgery is relatively shorter than conventional open surgeries, which involve larger incisions. 

The risks associated with the surgeries are also considerably low. 

How Hip arthroscopy surgery is performed?

The surgeon makes a small incision to insert a camera, which is microscopic in size. 

This extremely small-specialized camera allows the surgeon to evaluate the various anatomical structures, evaluate the integrity of the structures, and identify the site that requires correction.

Once identified, the surgeon makes another three to four incisions to insert the surgical instruments that will facilitate the main surgery. 

The main surgeries that may be generally required for the hip are:

  • Hip partial replacement surgery, hemiarthroplasty

  • Total hip replacement surgery

  • Hip Arthroscopy for decompression technique

Other conditions, which can be effectively treated with hip arthroscopy, are:

  • Hip impingement

  • Labral tears

Loose pieces of bone or cartilage wedged in the hip joint (loose bodies)

  • Inflammation of the joint lining (synovitis)

  • Snapping hip

Hip Arthroscopy is not an effective technique for the arthritic condition of the hip joint. It may even worsen the recovery. 

An orthopaedic surgeon specially trained in sports medicine surgeries can perform Hip Arthroscopy surgery.

This is generally indicated in the surgeons' practice to distinguish from the orthopaedic surgeons practising general orthopaedic surgeries.

For performing arthroscopic surgeries, specialized equipment is required, such as a specially designed operating table. 

This table positions the patient appropriately, such that mild traction can be applied to the hip joint creating temporary space, allowing small incisions to be made and insertion of surgical instruments. 

A portable X-ray machine too is essential equipment, which is ambulatory and can be positioned appropriately, while the patient is stationary.

Depending on the condition being treated hip arthroscopy surgeries can last anywhere between thirty minutes to three hours.

What are the Risks associated with Hip arthroscopy?

Despite their safety and effectiveness, there are few risks involved with hip arthroscopic surgeries:

  • Infection

  • Nerve and/or blood vessel damage around the joint

  • Pain persists post-surgery

What are the Drawbacks of Hip arthroscopy?

As mentioned earlier, these surgeries have a specialized operating table positioning the patient appropriately for the surgery with the application of gentle traction. 

This may temporarily alter the sensation in the groin region. There could also be numbness in the groin area, which resolves. 

Nerves in the thigh could also be cut or irritated, while the incisions are made for the insertion of surgical instruments, leading to temporary or complete numbness in a section of the thigh.

But these risks can be minimized by choosing surgeons with adequate experience and expertise in these kinds of surgeries. 

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