Hip arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive type of surgery that uses a small camera attached to a flexible tube. The camera allows your orthopedic doctor to view nearly every part of your hip. The camera is inserted into the hip joint via small "keyhole" incisions. The information that the camera shows allows your doctor to determine the extent of damage, condition of the hip bones and its structure, and view ligaments, muscles, and blood vessels. As a tool, an arthroscope is agile enough that it can help to repair connective tissue, remove bone spurs and chips, and mend muscle tears. In this way, hip arthroscopy becomes a tool of preservation which is a very positive achievement because artificial hip joints last between 10-20 years before they must be replaced. In some cases, they may last less than ten years.
Hip preservation is an arthroscopic surgery that reshapes the hip joint so that the ball of the femur fits more accurately at the shape of the hip socket. This is a procedure that helps to treat hip dysplasia. Hip preservation surgery is often performed on teens and young adults.
Arthroscopy does not help to treat arthritis. It can help repair muscle tears where tissue might become damaged due to arthritis, but it will not help to treat arthritis itself. The arthroscopy will show the doctor the condition of the bones and whether or not the arthritis is advanced. Arthritis that causes pain and limitation in hip movement is usually best treated with a full hip replacement.
Arthroscopy is almost always an outpatient procedure. Some patients stay overnight in the hospital or even up to three days. Those situations are usually due to cardiac issues or when a patient has a reaction to the anesthesia.