Arthroscopic surgery is a collection of minimally invasive procedures designed around the use of an arthroscope, a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end. This tool allows the surgeon to visualize the site of surgical manipulation without making a large incision and opening up the joint. As a result, there is less risk and faster recovery associated with arthroscopic surgery.
The hip joint (acetabulofemoral) benefits from a wide range of arthroscopic surgeries. Some of these operations include:
- Removal of bone spurs (impingement repair)
- Cartilage repair
- Loose body removal
- Torn labrum correction
Hip arthroscopy procedures are usually performed on an outpatient basis and recovery is accelerated compared to open-surgery patients. In fact, depending on the operation, the patient may be allowed to start rehabilitation immediately following surgery, stretching the day after or even the night of surgery. Range of motion can generally be reclaimed within a week and walking may be possible within two to three weeks.
It is important to note that arthroscopy will not be used to treat arthritis of the hip due to its limited effectiveness. Full hip replacement also cannot be accomplished using just arthroscopy.
All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk for the patient’s well-being, and arthroscopy is no exception. The normal surgery concerns are non-issues, such as infection, but the anatomy of the hip itself presents vulnerable nerves and blood vessels that may complicate the procedure. This contributes to the fact that hip arthroscopy has progressed and evolved at a much slower rate than shoulder and knee arthroscopy. The external joints are much easier to manipulate and contain fewer fragile entities.