Hip arthroscopy was initially used for the diagnosis of unexplained hip pain, but is now widely used in the treatment of conditions both in and outside the hip joint. The most common indication currently is for the treatment of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and its associated pathologies. Other hip conditions that may be treated arthroscopically are labral tears, loose / foreign body removal, chondral (cartilage) lesions, osteochondritis dissecans, ligamentum teres injuries (and reconstruction), Iliopsoas tendinopathy (or “snapping psoas”), trochanteric pain syndrome, snapping iliotibial band and direct assessment of hip replacement.
At the start of the procedure, your leg will be put in traction. This means that your hip will be slightly pulled away from the socket, just enough for your surgeon to insert instruments, see the entire joint, and perform the treatments needed. After traction is applied, your surgeon will make a small puncture in your hip (about the size of a buttonhole) for the arthroscope. Through the arthroscope, a clear view of the inside of your hip allows the surgeon to identify damage and repair it.
Your surgeon will insert other instruments through separate incisions to treat the problem. A range of procedures can be done, depending on your needs. For example, your surgeon can:
- Smooth off torn articular cartilage or repair it
- Repair torn acetabular labrum
- Trim bone spurs caused by FAI
- Remove inflamed synovial tissue
The length of the procedure will depend on what your surgeon finds, and the amount of work to be done.
After surgery, you will stay in the recovery room for 1 to 2 hours before being discharged home. You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you at least the first night. You can also expect to be on crutches, or a walker, for some period. Your surgeon will develop a rehabilitation plan based on the surgical procedures you required. In most cases, physical therapy is necessary to achieve the best recovery. Specific exercises to restore your strength and mobility are important and will be directed by your surgeon.