Dr. Considine examining patient's shoulder.

Hip arthroscopy

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Hip arthroscopy — an alternative for young, active individuals suffering from hip pain and who need surgery

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that allows an orthopedic surgeon to evaluate and treat certain mechanical conditions of the hip, particularly in the young, active patient. The procedure may help postpone — or eliminate — the need for hip replacement surgery in the future.

How does hip arthroscopy work?

With traditional hip surgery, the hip joint must be dislocated in order to evaluate and treat problems. This is a major procedure that requires a large incision and typically involves a long recovery period and significant pain for the patient.

In contrast, arthroscopic hip surgery involves several small incisions (cuts) and the insertion of a small, pencil-sized camera into the hip joint. The surgeon uses this camera to visualize the hip surface and determine the nature and extent of the problem. The other small incisions allow the surgeon to insert other small surgical instruments into the joint. This advanced technology provides a less painful, shorter recovery time for the patient.

Who would benefit from hip arthroscopy?

The majority of patients that require hip arthroscopy are young, active individuals with a history of hip pain.

The most common conditions that lend themselves to hip arthroscopy include:

  • Infections in the hip

  • Instability of the hip joint, either congenital or posttraumatic

  • Presence of loose bodies within the hip joint, common after traumatic injury of the hip

  • Tearing in the lining of the rim of the hip socket

In addition, hip arthroscopy can also be used to diagnose and treat diseases and conditions such as:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis of the hip

  • Femoral-acetabular impingement

  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

  • Perthes disease

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Synovial chondromatosis

Hip arthroscopy cannot be used to treat all conditions of the hip joint. Patients with severe osteoarthritis or a hip that is stiff due to arthrofibrosis will not benefit from this procedure. Also, hip arthroscopy cannot address malalignment problems that can predispose to hip pain such as hip dysplasia.

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