What is arthroscopic debridement of the hip?

Your hips are two major ball-and-socket joints in your body. They allow for movement in several directions and flexibility. The hip has a cup shape that the head of your thigh bone fits into. In between these two bones is a layer of cartilage that acts like a cushion. If you have arthritis or damage to the cartilage, you begin to feel pain and may have trouble moving as you normally would.

The damage to the labrum — cartilage in your hip joint — can cause fragments of bone, cartilage and other debris to collect in the joint. This is what often causes problems in your hips. Arthroscopic debridement is the medical procedure that removes this debris. Your doctor may also repair any damaged structures so that your hip can heal and return to normal.

What to expect from arthroscopic debridement of the hip

Arthroscopic debridement is an outpatient procedure that doesn't require a major incision. That means that you'll be able to go home on the same day as your surgery and your recovery time will be shorter than with a larger cut.

During the procedure, your doctor makes one small incision for the camera. This allows him to see inside your hip joint without making a large incision. Your doctor then makes two or three other incisions to insert the other tools. He trims and reattaches torn cartilage when possible. Then he reshapes cartilage and removes torn cartilage. Finally, the incisions are closed up and bandaged.

Following arthroscopic debridement, you'll have to take medication to manage pain and antibiotics to prevent infection. Your doctor may recommend that you elevate your leg to reduce pain and swelling in the days following surgery. You'll also be required to use crutches for one to three weeks to keep weight off of your hip as you heal.

You'll need physical therapy to help with healing and getting your range of motion back. Expect recovery to take up to six months.

Common conditions requiring arthroscopic debridement

Arthritis is a degenerative condition that can cause pain in your hips and other joints in the body. This condition can cause the cartilage in your joints to wear down and cause pain as a result. Arthroscopic debridement is a possible treatment for managing this condition. Damage to the labrum through sports and other activities also benefits from this procedure. Common sports that cause labrum injuries include:

  • Golf
  • Ballet
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Ice hockey

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