Hip arthroscopy is keyhole surgery of the hip. This involves inserting a small probe with a camera in a few millimetres wide into the hip joint and then using another small probe for performing surgery.
This is a more complicated and technically difficult procedure than keyhole surgery of other joints such as the knee and shoulder. This is because the hip joint is a ball and socket joint and it is therefore very difficult to get access to the surface of the joint which is opposed. The operation therefore has to be performed under general anaesthetic. The patient is placed on a special hip table. Under traction the hip is slowly distracted so it comes partially out of joint then a 1 to 2 cm incision can be made in which to insert the camera and through a separate incision the instruments needed to perform the surgery.
Keyhole surgery of the hip is useful for removing loose bodies or debris from the hip and removing tears of the labrum or cartilage of the hip. These can cause groin and thigh pain, catching, locking or giving way of the hip. Diagnosis is made by clinical examination, plain x-rays and an MRI scan.
The operation is performed as an overnight stay and the patient is mobilised on crutches, normally for two weeks following the procedure. Following physiotherapy rehabilitation a return to sport will take six to twelve weeks.
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