CINCINNATI, Ohio -

When it takes you ten minutes to walk up a flight of stairs, something is very wrong.  Well, that's what life was like for a young woman who had a mysterious hip pain.  Doctors are now using arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, to diagnose pain and heal the hips.

For five, long years,  19-year-old Emily Wandershe suffered horrible pain in her hips.

“Like your sharpest, excruciating pain that you've had and then make that constant and that's what it felt like," she said.

Wander was active all her life.  You name the sport, she played it!  But by high school, she could barely walk.

Finally, Wander found Dr. Keith Kenter at the University Of Cincinnati Health Orthopedics And Sports Medicine.  He discovered bumps, or bone spurs, on her thigh bone, where the ball meets the hip socket.  

"You can imagine as she flexes and rotates, that spur comes in contact with the socket," said Kenter.

To stop the pain, the orthopaedic surgeon tried a high-tech treatment called hip arthroscopy. Through small incisions, he inserts special tools to repair torn cartilage, and shave the bone spur.

"The days where we have to make a big incision, dislocate the hip to address something are going away," Kenter explained.

Now Wander is pain free and can’t wait to go running again.

Doctors say hip arthroscopy is done on an outpatient basis, and patients usually recover more quickly than with major surgery.  Ideal candidates are active patients who have hip pain resulting from bone spurs and tissue tears within the hip.  

Doctors also say arthroscopy is important because it's helping them see and understand problems within the hip, just as it helped them see and treat the knees and shoulders.

Additional Information:

HIP ARTHROSCOPY:  Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that gives doctors a clear view of the inside of a joint. This helps them diagnose and treat joint problems. During hip arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into the hip joint. The camera displays pictures on a television screen, and the surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments.

WHEN HIP ARTHROSCOPY IS RECOMMENDED: A doctor may recommend hip arthroscopy if a patient has a painful condition that does not respond to nonsurgical treatment.  Hip arthroscopy may relieve painful symptoms of many problems that damage the labrum, articular cartilage, or other soft tissues surrounding the joint.

COMPLICATIONS: Complications from hip arthroscopy are uncommon. Any surgery in the hip joint carries a small risk of injury to the surrounding nerves or vessels, or the joint itself. The traction needed for the procedure can stretch nerves and cause numbness, but this is usually temporary. There are also small risks of infection, as well as blood clots forming in the legs.

RECOVERY: After surgery, patients typically stay in the recovery room for 1 to 2 hours before being discharged. The patient can also expect to be on crutches, or a walker, for some period of time.

(SOURCE: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org)