Minimally-invasive surgery options for the hip
John Toth, D.O., is an orthopedic surgeon at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz.
Question: I’m a sports enthusiast but have been experiencing some hip problems that might require surgery. I know minimally-invasive options are available for the shoulder and knee, but what about the hip?
Answer: Much like the knee and shoulder joints, a surgical procedure called hip arthroscopy allows an orthopedic surgeon to evaluate and treat certain hip problems. Using small incisions and a miniature surgical camera called an arthroscope, the surgeon is able to view an image of your hip, examine the interior of the hip joint, and better determine the cause of your problem.
During hip arthroscopy, small surgical instruments may also be used to repair damage to the hip. The procedure is most effective for removing torn or loose portions of the cartilage surrounding the hip joint. Clinical history, physical examination, X-rays and possibly a special type of MRI help determine if a patient will benefit from the procedure. For example, a diagnosis of advanced arthritis may require a more involved surgery like total hip replacement.
Hip arthroscopy is generally performed as an outpatient procedure. Surgical results and recovery time, which can last weeks or even months, will vary depending on the degree of cartilage damage found in and around the joint.
Physical therapy is a crucial part of the recovery process. Joint discomfort, soreness and some swelling are common for several weeks, and patients should avoid any strenuous exercise or activity after surgery. Often, regular activity can resume within a month, though your surgeon will provide advice on what is most appropriate based on your particular case.
Reviewed January 2011