Hip arthroscopy, or a “hip scope”, is a minimally-invasive hip procedure. The procedure is done using 2-3 small incisions (approximately 1/4-1/2 inch long) rather than a more invasive “open” surgery that would require a much larger incision. These small incisions, or “portals”, are used to insert the surgical instruments into the joint.
During the arthroscopic hip procedure, the flow of saline through the joint provides the surgeon with excellent visualization. The surgeon is also aided by fluoroscopy, a portable x-ray apparatus that is used during the surgery to ensure that the instruments and arthroscope are inserted properly.
The instruments used include an arthroscope, which is a long thin camera that allows the surgeon to view the inside of the joint, and a variety of “shavers” that allow the surgeon to cut away (debride) the frayed cartilage or labrum that is causing the pain. Sometime a small burr is also used to shave away a bump of bone that is responsible for the cartilage or labral damage.
What procedures can be performed with a hip arthroscopy?
The primary indications for hip arthroscopy are removal of loose bodies (usually cartilage), debridement/repair of hip labral tears (the labrum is a ring of cartilage around the hip socket), removal of pathologic synovium (joint lining), and rarely, for early stages of hip arthritis.
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