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Hip Arthroscopy Explained

If you have a hip problem, then Hip Arthroscopy may be a great way of identifying what is causing the pain without the need for complex surgery. It is used to take a closer look inside your joints, such as your knee or your hip.

It is a minimally invasive technique allowing procedures to be performed with minimal trauma to the muscles around the hip. You could be up and about, doing all the things you used to do before. It's quite possible that friends and family will have a lot of questions about your operation, so here is a simple way to explain the details of Hip Arthroscopy to them so that you can help put their minds at rest.

The main condition treated by hip arthroscopy is ‘hip impingement’. This is a pre-arthritis condition and hip arthroscopy aims to improve your pain and delay or stop the progression to arthritis.

What does the operation involve?

Sometimes, non-surgical recovery techniques do not provide effective relief from the debilitating impact of hip pain. Also, doctors and GPs may find it difficult to identify what is wrong with your hip, even if they send you for some x-rays. Furthermore, the pain, swelling or stiffness may come back into your hip a short time after you've paid a visit to your doctor.

If this does happen, then one of the best ways of getting to the bottom of the problem is by going for a Hip Arthroscopy.

The surgeon will make a small cut close to the joint of the hip and then insert a small camera into it. This camera will then project the images onto a larger screen, allowing your surgeon to visualise the construction of the join and identify any issues.

Will it be painful?

While the operation is going on, you should not feel anything. Usually, a general, local or spinal anaesthetic is used to help block out the pain. However, once you are in recovery, you may start to feel a slight pain in your hip. This is perfectly normal, and the doctors or nurses in the hospital will be on hand to assist you during this recovery period.

How will the camera be inserted?

To make room for the camera, the hip will be pulled out of place. The camera that's used to record the hip joint is incredibly small, and is not usually more than a few millimetres wide. As a result, only a small cut is needed on the skin to allow the camera to fit in.  Sometimes, extra cuts may be made to allow the surgeon to insert some tools next to the hip joint. These tools could be used for removing or repairing whatever it was that was causing the pain or discomfort.

The camera used is incredibly clear – so the surgeon will get a great view of the hip. The camera will send what it records to a screen in the treatment room, which helps the surgeon find the exact location of the pain. This technology is what allows the surgeon to make smaller cuts near the hip, instead of a large cut which take more time to heal.

Keeping everything clean

Once the camera has been inserted, a fluid flows through the camera to make sure the images are as clear as possible. The fluid also helps to control any bleeding.

Once the surgeon has found the cause of the problem, he or she will then take a moment to decide on how to repair it. You can treat lots of problems with this type of operation, including removing loose bits of bone, removing damaged cartilage at the ends of the bones or clearing up any fluid that may have been left there.

Will it take long to recover?

This type of hip surgery can be done in about an hour, making the recovery time quicker than standard hip surgery. The small cut that was made to let the camera in should take a week or so to heal and most people are allowed to return home the same day.

Of course, the amount of time it will take to recover will depend on how much work had to be done to the hip during the operation, but most people will be able to get back to normal in just a few weeks.

Hip Arthroscopy is an efficient and quick procedure, and it can be used to treat a range of hip conditions. At Highgate Private Hospital we have a team of specialist Orthopaedic surgeons who can provide you with expert advice and perform the latest techniques to help you get back on your feet in no time at all. 

Date: 01/02/2017
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