Hip Arthroscopic Surgery
Experiencing pain in the hip
Please seek medical help if you have any of these symptoms. Your orthopaedic surgeon will take a detailed medical history from you, perform a thorough medical examination and likely organise an MRI scan of your hip to confirm the labral tear.
FAI femoral acetabular impingement
The CAM type of FAI occurs due to an extra bump of bone at the junction of the femoral head and neck. This extra bone collides or impinges on the labrum when the hip is moved around. Imagine having a small stone in your shoe! The soft labrum is therefore squeezed between the bony acetabulum and bony bump and ends up tearing. If the bony bump is not removed and the labrum is not repaired, the hip will become arthritic sooner than later.
The pincer type of FAI occurs when there is overhanging or extra bone around the acetabulum. As the hip is moved, the pincer crushes the soft labrum against the hard femoral neck, resulting in a badly damaged labrum and painful hip. Some patients have a combined CAM and pincer which makes their symptoms worse.
Arthroscopic labral repair
Many years ago, repair of the labrum involved open surgery where a large skin incision was made. These days arthroscopic or keyhole surgery is performed for the same purpose. Small incisions allow wounds to heal faster, lower the risk of infection and reduces the collateral damage to other structures in the hip. Several incisions about 1 or 2cm long are made around your painful hip. The instruments used for this procedure are long and thin like chopsticks. It allows accurate localisation of the torn labrum and precise repair of the tear. Labral tears should also not be repaired in isolation. The offending CAM bony bump or overhanging pincer must be addressed to prevent repeat tears in future.
Rehabilitation after surgery may take 3 to 6 months. In the early days after surgery, medication is given to manage general pain around the hip, ice is applied to reduce swelling and patients are not allowed to bend their hips beyond 90 degrees to protect the repair site. While the arthroscopic scars are small and heal in 2 weeks, patients need to go for frequent physiotherapy after surgery to prevent scarring in their hips, maintain muscle strength in the thighs and promote smooth a walking pattern. Cycling on a stationary bicycle is important to get your hips going to prevent stiffness. Most patients return to brisk walking at about 3 months and sports at 6 months.
The intention of hip preservation surgery is to repair and patch up the hip injuries and delay the need for a formal hip replacement. There is a chance that damage in the hip is too advanced and patients continue to have pain despite hip preservation surgery. In these cases, we would counsel patients for a total hip replacement so that they may return to their active lifestyles again. It is not true that only elderly patients receive a total hip replacement and it is not true that you cannot be active after hip replacement surgery. Do speak to us if you have been bothered by your hip pain. We are equipped with a spectrum of non-surgical and surgical techniques to help you with your symptoms.