Hip Arthroscopy Surgery

Effective October 9, BCH Orthopedic Services - except for rehabilitation - will be totally relocated to Foothills Hospital, 4747 Arapahoe Avenue, in Boulder.  There will be no changes in the range of services available, only the location. This is part of a consolidation of services at Foothills Hospital.  Click here for more information on this important change in local health care.

Injury to the soft tissues that surround the hip joint can prevent the joint from functioning properly and may cause pain. The tissues have an important job, supporting the bones and helping the hip joint move properly. If an injury is left untreated, your hip joint may be damaged. These conditions are painful and can prevent you from maintaining an active life. To get a better idea of how the bones and tissues work together, review how soft tissues support the hip joint.

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive technique that can diagnose and repair soft tissue injuries. Repairing tissues early may prevent damage from occurring and improve hip function. Conditions that can be successfully treated with arthroscopy include:

You can learn more about these tears by reviewing the causes of soft tissue tears.

Visit our orthopedist list to schedule a consultation with an orthopedist and find out if hip arthroscopy is a treatment option for you.

Benefits of Hip Arthroscopy

If you have been experiencing hip pain for more than four weeks after trying medications or physical therapy, or if you have symptoms of hip locking or catching, arthroscopy may be a treatment option for you. Because small incisions are made, people who have arthroscopic treatment have minimal surgical trauma and may regain their active lifestyles sooner than traditional open techniques.  Arthroscopy is an outpatient procedure so you can return home the same day after surgery.  

About Hip Arthroscopy

After making small incisions in your skin, your surgeon will insert a fiber-optic camera and surgical tools into your hip joint. The camera enables your surgeon to view any damage in your hip. Depending on your condition, your surgeon may cut out and remove the torn piece of tissue, repair the torn tissue by sewing it back together or remove loose fragments. This video further explains hip arthroscopy.

Best Candidates for Hip Arthroscopy

The best candidates for hip arthroscopy are active people between the ages of 20 and 60 years old with no arthritis.

Hip Arthroscopy at Boulder Community Hospital

We use a patient-centered approach to medical care. Every patient receives a personalized care plan that guides the entire medical team -- from the technicians who prepare the surgical suite to the rehabilitation therapists who help the patient take his first steps after surgery -- to deliver the best possible care in a safe and comfortable environment. We’ll chaperon you through every step of the surgical process.

Since we partner with board-certified orthopedists, we can help you find a doctor who’s right for you. Visit our orthopedist list to schedule a consultation with an orthopedist affiliated with Boulder Community Hospital.

Soft Tissues that Support the Hip Joint

These are the main tissues that keep the hip joint functioning properly.Hip Joint Anatomy

Articular cartilage covers the surfaces of the ball (femur head) and the socket (pelvic acetabulum). It creates a smooth frictionless surface that helps the bones glide across each other.

The acetabulum also has a rim of strong fibrocartilage called the labrum. The labrum forms a gasket around the socket that seals in fluid and helps maintain lubrication and nutrition.

The joint is surrounded by bands of tissue called ligaments. They form a capsule that holds the joint together.

The undersurface of the capsule is lined by a thin membrane called the synovium. It produces fluid that lubricates the hip joint.

Causes of Soft Tissue Tears

The most common injury is a tear to the labrum (see photo), also known as a labral tear. This can happen when the hip dislocates due to an accident or contact sports such as football or hockey. Repetitive motion from sports or other physical activities can also cause a labral tear. Other common problems include:

  • Sometimes the hip socket is shallow and makes the labrum more susceptible to tearing. This condition is called dysplasia.
  • Bone spurs grow around the hip socket or the head of the femur (thighbone) and damage the soft tissue. This condition is called femoroacetabular impingement.
  • A tendon rubs across the outside of the joint and gets damaged from repeated rubbing.  This condition is called snapping hip syndrome.
  • The tissues that line the hip joint become inflamed. This condition is called synovitis.
  • Small pieces of bone or cartilage become loose and move around the hip joint.

Questions and Answers about Hip Arthroscopy

How will I benefit from this procedure?

By reducing hip pain, increasing mobility and restoring your range of motion, hip arthroscopy can help you reclaim your active life. Repairing damaged tissue or removing bone spurs early can preserve the bones in your hip joint and your range of motion. Arthroscopy may prevent more serious problems from developing in your hip.

Can I resume my normal activities?

Your recovery will depend on the type of damage that was present in your hip. If no complications arise, you can typically begin light activities, such as cycling or swimming, within a few weeks and return to normal activity in a few months after surgery.

Your commitment and cooperation are vital to a successful recovery. Following your orthopedist’s advice and your rehabilitation plan will increase your odds of resuming activity and reducing recovery time.

What are the risks of this surgery?

Complications from hip arthroscopy are rare.  However, possible risks of this surgery may include the following:

There is a small risk of injury to the surrounding nerves or blood vessels, or the joint itself. The traction needed for the procedure can stretch nerves and cause numbness, but this is usually temporary.

Infections can occur in the tissues near your hip. Most infections are successfully treated with antibiotics.

Blood clots can form in your leg veins as a result of decreased movement of your leg after surgery or injury to your veins during the procedure. Your surgeon may prescribe blood-thinning medications after surgery to prevent clots from forming. Exercises, such as walking, that increase blood flow through your leg veins can also reduce the risk of clots.

Visit our orthopedist list to schedule a consultation with an orthopedist and find out if hip arthroscopy is a treatment option for you.

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