Hip arthroscopy can help restore your quality of life when nonsurgical treatments aren’t effective. Unlike open surgery, hip arthroscopy is minimally invasive; it involves small incisions so your body can heal faster. Some may also refer to hip arthroscopy as a hip scope, a reference to the special camera (arthroscope) that makes it possible.
At New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center (NHOC), our skilled hip specialists have special expertise in arthroscopic hip surgeries, including femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) surgery. They use their experience, the latest techniques and advanced surgical tools to deliver a successful outcome.
Arthroscopic Hip Surgery: How It Works
Doctors use hip arthroscopy to both diagnose and treat a range of hip problems. It’s typically performed as an outpatient procedure using both general anesthesia and local anesthesia.
- With general anesthesia, you are asleep during the surgery.
- With local anesthesia, numbing medicine is injected in the planned incision sites when you are asleep.
During hip arthroscopy, your hip surgeon uses an arthroscope to see inside your hip joint. The arthroscope provides real-time images that guide surgeons as they operate. Here’s how it works:
- Your hip surgeon makes two to five small incisions around your hip joint.
- Your surgeon inserts the arthroscope (about the thickness of a pen) through an incision into the hip joint.
- The arthroscope allows the surgeon to see the joint and fix any hip labrum tears or thickened areas of bone with tiny surgical instruments.
- After the procedure, you can go home to recover the same day.
Benefits of Arthroscopic Hip Surgery
Open surgery can be hard on the body. It involves a large incision and cutting through soft tissue, moving bone or dislocating the hip joint to access it. This may result in higher risks for complications, more scarring and a longer recovery. But hip arthroscopy is significantly less invasive, leading to:
- Less pain
- Lower complication risks
- Smaller scars
- Shorter recovery
Innovative Technology Leads to Better Outcomes
During hip arthroscopy, surgeons access the inside of the hip joint by separating it. Traditional hip arthroscopy tables have a big post that sits between the patient’s legs. The surgeon pulls on the leg, and the post creates the traction needed to separate the joint. But this method can cause numbness, tingling and pain around the patient’s groin.
Our surgeons operate on an innovative hip arthroscopy table called a Postless Distraction System. This distraction system doesn’t have a post. Instead:
- The surgeon places the patient on the table’s special friction padding to hold them in place.
- The surgeon tilts the table so that the patient’s head goes down and feet go up.
- The patient’s weight and gravity supply the countertraction needed to open the hip joint, eliminating the complication risks.
- Without the post, the surgeon can also visualize the area better, leading to faster, safer surgeries.
What to Expect Before and After Hip Arthroscopy
Our patient coordinators manage everything involved with your care, so you don’t have to. To help you prepare for your hip scope surgery:
- Your NHOC hip surgeon explains everything you need to know about the procedure, including the benefits, risks and recovery timeline.
- Then, your surgeon inputs the surgery details into our computer system.
- Your patient coordinator reads your doctor’s instructions to ensure nothing is overlooked, such as whether you need a brace or crutches for your recovery.
- Your patient coordinator calls you to schedule the procedure and explains your next steps.
After surgery, your hip surgeon closely monitors your health and recovery as you heal. You can expect to:
- See your hip surgeon regularly in the first three to four months after your operation to check your hip and remove your stitches
- Swap stronger pain medications for acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) within the first five days after your procedure
- Begin physical therapy early, which helps make recovery more manageable
- Begin doing light daily living activities three to six weeks after your surgery
Is Hip Arthroscopy Right for You?
Hip arthroscopy treats hip conditions such as:
- Hip impingement: Hip impingement is a hip disorder that occurs when the ball (femoral head) or socket (acetabulum) of the hip joint thickens. When this happens, the hip joint no longer fits together properly, causing excessive friction and damage.
- Snapping hip syndrome: Snapping hip syndrome is a condition that causes an audible or painful snapping or clicking sensation when you move your hip.
- Labrum tears resulting from hip arthritis: The labrum is a ring of cartilage that outlines the acetabulum. Age-related wear on the hip joint can cause the labrum to tear
If nonsurgical hip treatment, such as physical therapy and cortisone injections, fails to help, our hip specialists may recommend surgery based on your:
- Medical history
- Physical exam
- Results from any imaging tests
- Symptoms and lifestyle goals
Contact Us About Hip Care
For questions about our hip program, or to make an appointment with one of our hip specialists, call or text 603.883.0091.