Arthroscopy is the examination of the interior of a joint by using an arthroscope or “scope,” a flexible, fibreoptic tube with a small camera connected to a monitor. This allows a surgeon to see a magnified view of your joint. Specially designed arthroscopic surgical tools are also used to perform different types of minimally invasive joint surgery. For example, a hip arthroscopy entails using an arthroscope to visualise the hip joint to diagnose hip pain or carry out procedures to treat a condition. It is a minimally invasive procedure carried out under general anaesthetic.
Potential Benefits of a Hip Arthroscopy
- It causes very little trauma to the joint (which minimises hip pains and scarring)
- It is generally done on an outpatient basis (where patients return home after the procedure)
- Typically has a short recovery period
- May postpone the advancement of hip arthritis by treating its cause in the early stage
- Can delay or eliminate the need for a hip replacement by pre-emptively treating conditions that cause osteoarthritis of the hip
The signs and symptoms someone may be experiencing, which may indicate the need for hip arthroscopy, vary, depending on the injury to the hip. They may include:
- A hip impingement, limiting the range of motion causing osteoarthritis
- A tear in the labrum of the hip
- You need the removal of loose cartilage fragments, the diseased lining of the joint or painful bone spurs
- Pain in the hip or groin
- Limited range of motion
- Lack of flexibility
- Locking, clicking or catching
The Hip Arthroscopy Procedure Explained
Firstly, two or three small incisions are made. Next, a needle is inserted into the joint and a solution is injected to create fluid pressure around the joint, and a cannula is inserted. The arthroscope is then inserted through the cannula to visualise the joint. If a repair is required, instruments can be passed through the cannula into the joint to stitch; to repair or reshape any deformities found in the joint.
This procedure is usually an outpatient procedure, meaning patients can go home after the treatment and you may need to wear a brace in the days following.
Risks of a Hip Arthroscopy
Although a hip arthroscopy is a relatively minor form of surgery, some risks may be necessary to take into account and which should be discussed with the surgeon before undergoing the procedure:
- Damage to nerves and blood vessels around the joint
- Unresolved pain
How Much Does a Hip Arthroscopy Cost?
- Privately in the UK, hip arthroscopy surgery costs around £8,900.
- This treatment is available on the NHS for those who meet the criteria, however there is a waiting list of around 18 weeks.