When the firm, smooth tissue that covers the ball and socket of the hip (joint cartilage) is damaged, it can cause painful catching in the joint. Arthroscopy, a surgical technique that requires only small incisions and special instruments, can repair chondral (cartilage) damage.
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 general anesthesia to make you sleep.
After you receive anesthesia, your leg is gently pulled to widen, the hip joint. Next, the 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 the joint to a video screen. These images allow the surgeon to look inside the joint. The joint is filled with sterile fluid to help the surgeon see more clearly.
If the damaged cartilage is loose, it is removed. If the cartilage is missing, the exposed bone may be shaved to smooth it. Or, small holes may be placed in the bone (microfracture). This allows new cartilage to form. Once the surgeon finishes the procedure, the portals are closed and bandaged. Then you are taken to the recovery room.