Arthroscopy of the hip

Arthroscopy of the hip is a surgical operation. It involves the use of a minimally invasive procedure to insert instruments into the joint, which allow for the assessment and, if necessary, repair of damaged structures. Before the introduction of arthroscopy of the hip joint, it was only possible to carry out this work on the hip joint using complex, highly invasive procedures. The introduction of arthroscopy as a minimally invasive, technical surgical procedure has thus brought advantages such as a lower complication rate and faster healing time compared to classical surgery.

Performing an arthroscopy of the hip

An arthroscopy of the hip is performed under anaesthesia. This way the patient does not notice anything of the actual operation. In order to create “space” in the joint, the leg is put under traction and thus the muscles are stretched.

The surgical instruments are inserted into the joint through small skin incisions. In addition to a camera, called an endoscope, which gives the surgeon an overview of his instruments and the joint, different instruments can be inserted through one or more other skin incisions. With the help of these instruments, changes in the joint or surrounding structures can be detected and immediately corrected.

The surgeon will first get an overview of the structures of the joint. This includes in particular the cartilage of the head of the femur and the acetabulum. Depending on the type of damage, the surgeon can now use instruments that can, for example, remove cartilage fibres or eliminate an impingement syndrome of the hip. The operation is performed under a so-called X-ray control. With the help of this control, access to the relatively narrow joint space can be ensured during the operation.

Course of an arthroscopy of the hip

Depending on the clinical picture, there are different complaints which can be the reason for performing an arthroscopy. A frequent reason for consulting a doctor is hip pain. In fact, almost all diseases that require an arthroscopy of the hip are preceded by pain in the hip joint.

If conservative treatment options with medication are not an alternative or are not successful, in many cases arthroscopy is performed. The arthroscopy itself usually takes about one to two hours. After the operation, painkillers are administered which can effectively treat the pain that would occur after the operation.

Since arthroscopy of the hip is a minimally invasive procedure, the pain should improve within a few days. In principle, however, this always depends on the condition that was treated with arthroscopy. The length of hospital stay also depends on the disease being treated.

As a rule, the procedure is followed by a hospital stay of about two to four days. It is difficult to give a general prognosis because a large number of different diseases can be treated by arthroscopy. Each disease has a different prognosis, also depending on the individual course of the operation.

In general, full weight bearing of the affected joint is not recommended after arthroscopy. For the first seven to ten days, the joint should rather be partially loaded. In order to maintain the functions of the joint and support regeneration after the operation, physiotherapy is recommended, which begins on the first day after the operation.

A full load after about 10 days can help to accelerate the regeneration of the hip. However, this should be done in constant consultation with the attending physician and physiotherapists. Sports activities that are easy on the joints can be started a few weeks after the operation. Swimming, for example, is suitable for this. After a few months, in most cases, there is nothing to prevent full weight bearing and the performance of all sports.