Should I have hip arthroscopy surgery?
Arthroscopy of the hip is offered to patients with certain types of joint problems, often caused by past injuries. The main reason we do this surgery is to eliminate persistent and debilitating pain. A surgeon will carefully assess whether the pain is actually coming from the hip before this surgery is considered. Clinical examination and discussion of symptoms and imaging is used to determine whether this is a suitable operation.
Joint parts are not replaced in this operation.
Two or more small incisions of about 10 – 15 mm each are made on the lateral side of the hip. The arthroscope is inserted into the joint space so that repairs can be made inside the joint.
This procedure allows the surgeon to “clean-up” the joint space and remove loose or damaged cartilage (chondroplasty) which may be catching in the hip and causing pain. If the labrum is damaged it may be removed or repaired with a bone anchor. Sometimes bone may be trimmed to treat impingement (FAI or femoroacetabular impingement). The goal of arthroscopy is to relieve symptoms. This procedure may prevent the joint from degenerating further and may help to delay joint replacement surgery, but this has not been proven in properly controlled trials.
Compared to hip replacement, hip arthroscopy is quite a new procedure. Good symptomatic relief is achieved in 70% to 80% of patients (compared to 95% with total hip replacement).