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Hip Arthroscopy


What is hip arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to examine, definitively diagnose and treat various hip disorders and injuries. It involves the use of an arthroscope, a thin fiberoptic camera that allows Dr. Cooper to see inside the joint. The camera magnifies and transmits images to a video screen so Dr. Cooper can visualize the joint and diagnose the problem. The surgeon can then insert tiny instruments to treat the problem. The advantages of hip arthroscopy include the ability to make an accurate diagnosis, and repair; and improved outcomes.

What is the procedure?

Hip arthroscopic surgery is generally an outpatient procedure for healthy patients. It is usually performed using spinal anesthesia with regional blocks to avoid the complications of a full general anesthesia. This allows the patient to feel less pain, and be less groggy due to a reduced need for narcotic pain medications.

Dr. Cooper will make several small punctures to create access to the joint and insert the arthroscope and the specialized surgical tools needed for treatment. After treatment the incisions will be stitched up or taped.

During the procedure Dr. Cooper will repair the tear in the labrum as well as reshape the bone to the proper anatomic shape. This not only relieves pain, but prevents the issue from returning in the future by treating the root cause of the problem. In addition, the camera allows Dr. Cooper to see other pathology in the hip that may not be obvious on the MRI such as cartilage damage or capsular issues. These can also be addressed at the time of surgery.

Complications are rare and involve a small risk of infection and blood clots. Going home the patient be on crutches and will receive prescription pain medications for a short period to manage pain. Weight bearing activity will be determined by Dr. Cooper who will also create a rehabilitation plan to restore strength and mobility.

Recovery depends on the extent of damage and the type of repair. Athletes can frequently return to sports within several weeks but return to play is governed by the type and extent of the injury.

What are the benefits of hip arthroscopy for treatment?

The benefits of this procedure for treatment of hip disorders over traditional open surgery include:

  • less damage to healthy tissues which reduces pain and speeds recovery
  • smaller incisions, less bleeding and reduced scarring
  • reduced risk of nerve and blood vessel damage
  • less joint stiffness
  • shorter recovery and return to play
  • earlier mobilization which promotes healing and produces improved outcomes
  • earlier rehabilitation to restore mobility and strength
  • preventative treatments for hip arthritis
  • hip preservation

Hip arthroscopy requires an expert due to the vital structures that must be protected. Success depends on strict diagnostic criteria, and appropriate patient selection to optimize patient outcomes. Hip arthroscopy is not recommended when the patient has advanced hip arthritis, and/or obesity, and may eventually require hip replacement surgery.

Which hip conditions can be treated with hip arthroscopy?

  • removal of loose bodies in the joint. Loose bodies are small fragments of bone and cartilage, and inflamed tissues which cause popping, catching and locking of the joint.
  • drainage and debridement of a hip joint infection called septic arthritis
  • treatment of pediatric hip disorders
  • femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) a source of hip pain in young adults
  • tears of the hip labrum
  • bursitis treatment
  • synovitis which is inflammation of the synovium that produces fluids to lubricate the hip joint
  • treatment of cartilage defects
  • treatment of ligament tears
  • sciatic nerve pain
  • hamstring disorders
  • snapping hip disorders
  • hip dysplasia is a condition caused by a shallow hip socket that cause labral tears

Hip arthroscopy is safe and effective for young and older patients.

Dr. Cooper may recommend hip arthroscopy when your painful condition does not respond to nonsurgical treatment.

Dr. Joe Cooper is a board-eligible sports medicine specialist who received advanced fellowship training at the world-renowned Steadman Clinic in Vail Colorado. He focuses on the shoulder, elbow, hip and knee. Dr. Cooper is also the physician for the US Ski and Snowboard teams, and has extensive experience treating professional athletes and weekend warriors. Contact him to schedule a consultation today.

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