Why Hip Arthroscopy Is Here to Stay

Hip arthroscopy helps orthopedic surgeons analyze and diagnose patients’ hip problems. The procedure is proven to be safe and effective, and as such, is quickly becoming a top choice for orthopedic surgeons and patients alike.

What Is Hip Arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is a hip procedure that enables orthopedic surgeons to identify and treat hip joint conditions and injuries. Perhaps best of all, hip arthroscopy is minimally invasive, and it does not require large incisions into the skin and soft tissues.

During a hip arthroscopy, an orthopedic surgeon uses an arthroscope; this medical instrument allows a surgeon to examine and operate on the inside of a patient’s joint. An arthroscope features a fiber-optic camera that provides a live video feed from inside a joint that is projected onto a monitor. It is also very thin; in fact, the instrument measures only several  millimeters in diameter. Therefore, an orthopedic surgeon can use an arthroscope to evaluate the inside of a patient’s hip joint and perform soft tissue repair as needed.

Hip arthroscopy sometimes provides an alternative to traditional hip surgeries. Patients often experience less pain and joint stiffness following hip arthroscopy than they would after a traditional hip procedure. Plus, hip arthroscopy patients may enjoy a shorter recovery period in comparison to other hip treatments.

How Is Hip Arthroscopy Performed?

On average, hip arthroscopy requires up to two hours to complete, and the procedure is typically performed under anesthesia to minimize pain. An orthopedic surgeon first places the patient’s leg into gentle traction to allow visualization of the entire hip joint.  Instruments are then inserted to administer treatment.

After traction is applied, the surgeon makes two or three small incisions into the hip. These incisions enable the surgeon to use an arthroscope and other medical instruments during treatment.

Next, the surgeon treats the patient’s labrum, a ring of soft tissue surrounding the hip socket. The surgeon repairs any labral tears that may have occurred due to friction of the femoral head (highest part of the thigh bone) rubbing against the hip socket. The surgeon may repair or remove the patient’s labrum, depending on the labrum’s condition and other factors.

The surgeon then identifies and corrects any femoral head problems. If the femoral head has deformities or is out of alignment, or if the hip socket and femoral head do not fit together correctly, the surgeon will reshape the femoral head. The surgeon uses special bone-shaving tools to remove excess or misshapen bone, resulting in an improved fit into the hip socket.

Lastly, the surgeon removes inflamed tissue from the hip. This reduces the risk of further hip joint damage.

What to Expect After Hip Arthroscopy

An orthopedic surgeon tailors a hip arthroscopy procedure to a patient, and the recovery period for hip arthroscopy varies based on a patient’s health, the severity of his or her hip condition and other factors.

Following hip arthroscopy, a patient is usually discharged from a recovery room within about one to two hours. A patient may require crutches in the initial weeks or months after hip arthroscopy, though most patients are off crutches within two weeks. An orthopedic surgeon may recommend physical therapy to ensure a patient can optimize his or her treatment results as well.

Also, an orthopedic surgeon provides full recovery instructions. An orthopedic surgeon’s goal is to help a hip arthroscopy patient streamline the recovery process. Thus, an orthopedic surgeon is ready to respond to a hip arthroscopy patient’s concerns and questions at any point during the recovery period.

Is Hip Arthroscopy Right for You?

Hip arthroscopy is used to treat a variety of hip injuries and chronic conditions, such as:

  • Dysplasia: Refers to a hip socket that is too shallow and cannot support the femoral head. Dysplasia commonly causes hip and groin pain and may result in a snapping or popping sensation in the hip during physical activities.
  • Hip Joint Infection: Occurs when bacteria enter the hip joint, resulting in inflammation, cartilage deterioration and bone damage. An individual who is dealing with a hip joint infection may experience hip pain, swelling, redness and loss of movement.
  • Hip Impingement: Causes bone spurs (extra bones that develop along the hip socket or on the femoral head) and soft tissue damage in the hip. Hip impingement ultimately may lead to osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis that occurs when cartilage on the ends of a bone wears down. Additionally, common hip impingement symptoms include hip pain, tenderness and stiffness.
  • Loose Bodies: Refers to loose bone or cartilage fragments that travel freely inside the hip joint. Loose bodies may cause hip pain and irritation.
  • Snapping Hip Syndrome: Refers to a snapping sensation in the hip that occurs during physical activities. Snapping hip syndrome may result in hip pain and weakness.
  • Synovitis: Occurs when the synovial membrane (lining inside the joints) becomes inflamed and causes the joints to bleed. Synovitis may lead to hip pain and swelling.

An orthopedic surgeon performs a full patient evaluation prior to performing hip arthroscopy. That way, a surgeon can determine if hip arthroscopy can help a patient address his or her hip problems.

Bottom Line on Hip Arthroscopy

For those who are dealing with hip joint injuries or conditions, a hip arthroscopy may be ideal. A hip arthroscopy enables an orthopedic surgeon to treat a patient’s hip joint issues, along with any related cartilage and soft tissue problems.

Furthermore, there are many reasons why people choose hip arthroscopy, and these reasons include:

  • Limited Downtime: Generally, hip arthroscopy patients can return home one day after surgery.
  • Quick Recovery: The hip arthroscopy recovery period often is shorter than the recovery period associated with other hip treatments.
  • Minimal Scarring: Hip arthroscopy requires just a few small incisions, resulting in less scarring in comparison to other hip procedures.

Like any surgery, there are risks associated with hip arthroscopy, and it is important to discuss these dangers with an orthopedic surgeon before treatment. With the right orthopedic surgeon, an individual can receive the guidance and support he or she needs to determine if hip arthroscopy can deliver the desired results.

Select the Right Orthopedic Surgeon for Arthroscopic Hip Surgery

At La Peer Health Systems, we are proud to offer hip arthroscopy procedures performed by Dr. Tigran Garabekyan, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and founder and director of the Southern California Hip Institute. Dr. Garabekyan is an orthopedic surgery expert who specializes in sports medicine, hip, shoulder and knee joint preservation and joint replacement. He has even shared his orthopedic surgery insights at national and international conferences and written and co-authored many online and in-print journal articles.

Dr. Garabekyan can perform hip arthroscopy surgery without a perineal post. This technique allows Dr. Garabekyan to administer simultaneous bilateral hip arthroscopy to accelerate a patient’s recovery. It also reduces the risk of skin, deep soft tissue and neurological damage to a patient’s groin area.

Of course, Dr. Garabekyan is one of several La Peer orthopedic surgeons who is happy to treat hip arthroscopy patients of all ages. Our orthopedics team provides cutting-edge hip, shoulder and knee treatments designed to help patients achieve long-term pain relief. To find out more about hip arthroscopy and our other orthopedic treatments, please contact us today at (855) 360-9119 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic surgeons.