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Hip Arthroscopy: Removing Loose Bodies

Cross section of hip joint with arrows showing femoral head of thighbone being pulled out of socket. Dotted line shows normal position of femoral head in socket. 

  Cross section of hip joint showing arthroscopic instruments removing loose piece of tissue from joint. Closeup of arthroscope tip in hip joint and instrument removing loose body.

When pieces of bone or cartilage are loose in your hip joint, they can cause painful joint locking and catching. If your health care provider has suggested a procedure called arthroscopy, your surgeon can remove any loose bodies from your hip, using only small incisions and special instruments. One of these instruments is an arthroscope. This is a small, tube-shaped instrument used to look inside your joints.

In the Operating Room

Just before surgery, you may be asked several times which hip is to be treated. This is a standard safety measure. In the operating room, you will likely receive sleep medicine (anesthesia) to make you sleep.

During the Procedure

After you receive sleep medicine, your leg is gently pulled to distract, or widen, your hip joint. Next, your surgeon makes a few small incisions called portals. Through these portals, he or she inserts surgical tools, including the arthroscope. The arthroscope sends images of your joint to a video screen. These images allow your surgeon to look inside your joint. The joint is filled with sterile fluid to help your surgeon see more clearly.

Removing Loose Bodies

When your surgeon locates the loose bodies in your hip, he or she will try to remove them, using a surgical instrument, such as a grasper. But sometimes the loose bodies aren’t small enough to be removed. In this case, your surgeon will break down the loose bodies into smaller pieces. Then, they are removed. Once your surgeon finishes the procedure, the portals are closed and bandaged. Then you are taken to the recovery room.

 

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