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Dr. Jeffrey R. Counts Discusses Hip Arthroscopy

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The hip joint is comprised of two bones, the femur and pelvis, and the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that connect them. It is a ball and socket joint with the head of the femur sitting in the acetabulum which is the portion of the pelvis that forms the socket. The hip is a very stable joint but is susceptible to injury. There are multiple structures that can be damaged through trauma, repetitive use, or degeneration that occurs with aging. Historically, procedures to repair the damaged structure. More recently, however, with the advent of hip arthroscopy, certain patients are able to have a much less invasive surgery that minimizes pain and allows for easier and quicker recovery.

Hip arthroscopy, or hip scope, can be utilized to treat a number of conditions in the injured hip. From mild arthritis to labral tears and bursitis of the hip, it is now possible to correct problems with an outpatient procedure and obtain very good results for the patient. To determine if a patient is a candidate for hip arthroscopy, an evaluation in the office is typically followed by an MRI to identify the pathology. Not all problems require and conservative treatment should, in most cases, be attempted to correct the issue. Usually, this involves the utilization of physical therapy, avoidance of certain activities which could aggravate the condition, and medications such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories). Occasionally, an injection in the joint or into the bursal region can be attempted to alleviate the problem. If all conservative treatment fails, then your surgeon may suggest surgery.

A hip scope is performed through small incisions where a tiny camera is placed into the hip joint or other spaces to treat the pathology. It is almost always an outpatient procedure. Depending on what surgery is performed, the patient may be required to use crutches for a period of time to allow repaired structures to heal. In most cases, physical therapy is necessary to walk without a limp.

One of the more common procedures performed is the removal of greater trochanteric bursitis. This is a condition that can be very painful and can develop from trauma, such as a fall into the side of the hip, or simply without any clause. It leads to pain on the side of the hip which makes it difficult to lie on the injured side and is aggravated by walking or jogging. Again, conservative treatment is attempted first, but if necessary surgical removal is a very sucessful treatment. The camera is placed into the space where the bursa is located and the inflamed bursal tissue is then removed with a special instrument. Crutches are utilized until the pain resolves and then the patient can resume normal activities to his/her tolerance.

To discuss your hip pain and to be evaluated for possible hip arthroscopy, contact your surgeon at the North Louisiana Orthopadic & Sports Medicine Clinic