Hip arthroscopy is a procedure that is often used to treat pre-arthritic hip pain, particularly a condition called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). FAI is a common cause of chronic hip pain in younger, more active patients. If untreated, FAI can lead to joint damage and progressive osteoarthritis.
What is Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)?
FAI, or femoroacetabular impingement, is a common cause of hip pain in younger, more active people. It is especially common among young athletes.
FAI is the result of a structural problem within the hip that leads to abnormal contact between the ball and socket within the hip. The problem is usually acquired by repetitive movements during exercise or sport or can be from a developmental deformity. The abnormal contact and motion within the ball and socket can alter biomechanics and lead to hip instability, labral injury, and early onset osteoarthritis. The labrum is a “gasket” for the socket, and provides stability and a suction seal for the ball. FAI can cause the following symptoms:
- Deep or achy pain in the groin or outer hip
- Stiffness in the affected hip
- Reduced range of motion in the hip
- A clicking or locking sensation when moving the hip
If left untreated, FAI can eventually lead to more serious damage in the hip, such as a labral tear or arthritis.
Hip Arthroscopy to Treat FAI
FAI is one of the most common conditions treated with hip arthroscopy. Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that is completed through smaller incisions than an open procedure. Dr. Cancienne uses a small camera called an arthroscope to view the hip through a small incision. He then inserts operating instruments through additional small incisions to complete the procedure.
A hip arthroscopy procedure typically takes about 1-2 hours to complete, depending on what must be done to correct the FAI. The procedure typically involves repairing damage to the labrum, or hip cartilage, as well as removing any bone spur on the ball that is causing the pain and dysfunction.
As a minimally invasive procedure, hip arthroscopy often results in faster recovery, less blood loss during surgery, less pain after surgery, and quicker return to sport. Hip arthroscopy is an outpatient procedure, so patients are able to return home the same day.
Recovering from Hip Arthroscopy
The recovery process for hip arthroscopy patients occurs in phases. For the first 2 weeks after surgery, patients are advised to protect the hip and use crutches while walking. Patients also begin working with a physical therapist on an outpatient basis within the first few days of surgery and continue with physical therapy for 3-4 months. Physical therapy progresses over time to improve range of motion, flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance.
Within about 3-5 months, most patients see significant improvement and are back to doing all normal activities, with the exception of sports. With that said, a high percentage of athletes are able to return to sports within about 6-8 months of surgery.
Recovery timelines can vary based on the individual patient, including their needs, activities and condition. Your doctor will advise when it is safe to return to certain activities.
Hip Arthroscopy in New Orleans, LA
Our hip arthroscopy surgeon Dr. Chad Millet, frequently treats younger, more active patients with hip pain caused by conditions like FAI. Hip arthroscopy can help patients with these conditions who have not seen improvement with nonsurgical treatments. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Chad Millet, please call our office at (504) 897-6351 or request an appointment via our convenient online form.