Hip Arthroscopy

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Hip arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that's used to diagnose and treat hip joint problems such as impingement (catching). It's much less invasive than open surgery, which means people generally recover more quickly and are less likely to suffer from surgical complications.

What is Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows a surgeon to look at the interior of a joint without having to make a large, invasive incision in the skin.

This type of surgery is performed using a device called an arthroscope. These devices are medical instruments that can be inserted into small skin incisions. They typically consist of a long tube, with a tiny light and camera at one end. The other end of the device connects to a screen. When the arthroscope is inserted into a joint, the light and camera are used to capture images of the interior of the joint. These images are transmitted onto the screen, which allows the surgeon to see the inside of the joint very clearly.

Arthroscopy is useful as a diagnostic tool because it allows a surgeon to view the bones and tissues of a joint clearly, without having to perform invasive surgery. It's also useful for other kinds of surgery, which the surgeon performs with miniature medical instruments in addition to the arthroscope.

Arthroscopy for the Hip Joint

Hip arthroscopy is often recommended for a patient who has a painful hip problem that doesn't respond positively to non-surgical treatment options such as rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy. Some examples of such problems include infection or inflammation of the hip joint, bursitis, and impingement of the hip bone.

Bursitis of the hip is a condition in which structures called bursae become swollen. A bursa is a small sac filled with fluid. There are several located around the hip joints, where they provide soft cushioning for ligaments, tendons, and muscles that are close to the bone. Normally they function smoothly and without pain, but if one or more bursae are inflamed, they can become very painful.

Impingement, which also goes by the name femoroacetabular impingement, or FAI, is a disorder caused by abnormal bone growth. In FAI, abnormal deposits of bone grow in places such as the head of the femur bone. This overgrowths of bone, known as spurs, cause damage to the tissue that surrounds the hip bone, and can also be very painful.

If these conditions don't respond to non-surgical treatments, arthroscopic surgery is an effective treatment method that's minimally invasive, with a short recovery time. During the arthroscopic procedure, the affected leg is put into traction. This allows the surgeon to have easy access to the hip joint so that incisions can be made and the arthroscopic instruments inserted. Next, the surgeon uses the images the arthroscopic camera sends back to the video screen as a guide for performing the surgery. For instance, depending on the procedure, the surgeon might remove inflamed bursae, trim off bone spurs, or trim away damaged tissue.

Recovering from Arthroscopic Surgery

The recovery time for this kind of surgery is minimal, due to the small size of the incisions that are made, as well as the size of the instruments used. In arthroscopic surgery the absolute minimum amount of cutting is done, so there is less for the body to heal.

Even so, it's still normal to have some pain after this kind of surgery, and to spend a small amount of time in hospital. Depending on the nature of the surgery, some people may be able to go home the same day, or the next day.


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