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Health Information A Hip Alternative to Hip Replacement

Hip surgery may not always be necessary for those experience hip pain. For younger, athletic individuals, hip arthroscopy can offer relief from chronic hip pain.

Because the hip is surrounding by some of the biggest muscles in the body, total hip replacement surgery is a major procedure that can be quite painful and require a long recovery. In addition, even with many recent advances in hip replacement surgical techniques and artificial hip technology, implants may still wear out and need to be replaced; a major concern for young patients.

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that requires several small incisions at the hip. An arthroscope, or small camera, is inserted into the hip joint to provide the surgeon a direct view of what may be causing the pain.

Hip arthroscopy is similar to athroscopic surgery of the knee or shoulder, but is much less common because the hip joint is deeply seated and relatively inaccessible. With intraoperative traction and specially designed tools, the surgeon can grasp loose bone or cartilage and repair damage. However, hip arthroscopy requires advanced surgical training and has only recently been gaining popularity. Charles Bush-Joseph, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and a team doctor for the Chicago White Sox, performs about 50 to 60 hip arthroscopes a year at Rush.

"This surgery is ideal for patients with sports- and dance-related injuries to the hip joint," says Bush-Joseph. "The patients who respond well are young, active individuals who are experiencing pain in the groin area."

However, the surgery is not for everyone. According to Bush-Joseph, hip arthroscopy is not effective for people who have moderate or advanced arthritis. Also patients with a severe loss of hip joint cartilage will likely require a more extensive procedure, such as total hip replacement.

In addition, Bush-Joseph stresses the importance of an accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, MRIs are only helpful in making the diagnosis of hip pain about 70 percent of the time. Because arthroscopy uses a small camera (called an arthroscope), which is inserted into the hip joint, it can be a useful way to assess the amount of damage in the joint and determine the next course of treatment.

Read about one patients experience with hip arthroscopy.


More Information at Your Fingertips:

  • For information on bone and joint care at Rush visit our Orthopedic Surgery home page. U.S. News and World Report ranked Rush 8th in the nation for orthopedics.
  • Looking for a doctor? Call toll free: 888 352-RUSH (7874)

Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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