Arthroscopy is an procedure that is now being used for the treatment of hip disorders. At this point it has limited applications. But where indicated, this procedure can provide a minimally invasive alternative to open surgeries.
The basic concept of arthroscopy involves, through a series of puncture wound incisions, the insertion of a variety of instruments to repair the joint. One of these instruments is a camera and light source. These allow the surgeon to see the problem within the joint without opening it. Through similar puncture wounds, instruments can be inserted which can help the surgeon reshape the femoral head or neck. Other instruments can help the surgeon repair torn cartilage structures. Other instruments can be used to anchor or stabilize these lesions.
The procedure is still fairly involved. It requires a general or regional anesthesia and it usually requires a table that can apply traction to one or more parts of the body. After the patient is under adequate anesthesia, traction is applied to the involved hip in order to give space for the surgeon to work. The hip joint is filled with fluid, and within this space the surgeon can address the problems at hand.
How long is the recovery for Hip Arthroscopy?
Following the procedure, the patients are sometimes admitted to the hospital for a brief stay. The hospital stay is shorter than similar open procedures. The patients may spend the night in the hospital then are able to discharge to home. Weight bearing or motion restrictions may be employed during the post-operative period. Crutches may be mandatory for a period of time.
What are possible complications?
Possible complications of arthroscopy are similar to open procedures. DVT, pulmonary embolism, circulatory problems of the femoral head, and infection are all possibilities. Complications unique to arthrosopic procedures of the hip include pressure sores or nerve injuries from prolonged positioning on the arthroscopy table. Fracture of the femoral neck or damage to the blood supply to the femoral head are exceedingly rare but possible complications of this procedure.
While the incisions are small, the procedure can still be quite involved. Technical factors such as the size of the patient, the specific anatomy to be addressed, and the degree of injury to the structures involved all play a role in determining ones candidacy for this procedure. At this point the procedure seems to have advantages in young patients in whom there are only slight abnormalities in the form of the hip joint.