What is hip arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that is labelled minimally invasive. This procedure is ideal for diagnosing and treating hip conditions. The orthopaedic surgeon will use a flexible tube with a camera attached to it called an arthroscope. The arthroscope is connected to a video monitor, which displays magnified images of the hip joint. This allows the surgeon to see injuries, damage and other abnormalities in the hip joint.

Hip arthroscopy is normally indicated for younger patients experiencing hip pain who don’t require a hip replacement procedure. The cause of hip pain may be related to sports injuries, abnormalities in the bones that make up the hip joint, or overuse injuries. Dr van Niekerk may also recommend hip arthroscopy to surgically repair damage to the soft tissue in the hip or correct the shape as well as the fit of the hip bones. In some cases, hip arthroscopy isn’t indicated for patients with osteoarthritis.

Hip arthroscopy may be indicated for patients diagnosed with or are suspected of having the following conditions:

  • A hip labral tear is a tear that occurs in the ring of cartilage that covers the hip In this case, arthroscopy is used to clean out the damaged labrum, repair the tear and treat an underlying cause like hip impingement.
  • Hip impingement is a condition that leads to pinching between the hip joint bones caused by irregular bone shape. Hip arthroscopy is indicated to reshape the bones.
  • Bone spurs are bony bumps that develop at the ends of the bones, which may prevent the joint from gliding smoothly. Hip arthroscopy may be indicated to shave spurs off and restore the shape of the hip
  • Loose fragments of the cartilage caused by an injury. Hip arthroscopy is indicated to remove debris from the hip
  • Synovitis is inflammation of the hip joint lining. Arthroscopy is recommended to remove inflamed tissue and diagnose as well as treat underlying causes.

How does Dr van Niekerk perform hip arthroscopy?

During the procedure, Dr van Niekerk will make small incisions which he will pass through an arthroscope and other surgical instruments. Prior to inserting the arthroscope, the orthopaedic surgeon will inject the hip joint with fluid, creating pressure and opening the joint for it to be accessible. Next, he will use surgical tools to treat the problem in the hip joint. Finally, after the problem has been addressed, Dr van Niekerk will close the incisions with dissolvable sutures or surgical strips of tape.

What does recovery look like?

A physical therapist may be recommended to assist in gradually regaining mobility and strength after the procedure. The physical therapist will provide instructions on specific hip stretches and exercises to complete at home. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled to remove the sutures if need be and discuss pain levels and recovery progress.


What are the complications of hip arthroscopy?

Just like most surgical procedures, the risk factors of hip arthroscopy are an injury to nerves, muscles and blood vessels near the surgical site, as well as an infection.

What type of anaesthesia will be used?

General or regional anaesthesia will be used depending on your situation. General anaesthesia puts you to sleep during the procedure, while regional anaesthesia will only numb your body from your waist down.