The idea of hip arthroscopy, meaning, the use of optical devices (past) and a high-resolution camera (today) to look into ajoint without having to open it surgically, is basically not new.
As early as 1918 had the Japanese Kenji Takagi first described this in the literature.
In 1931, Michael Samuel Burman provided the first detailed description: “Originally we were sceptical as to whether anything could be seen in the hip joint, but we have had unusual success with this puncture“.
Near the end of the 1980s and in the early 1990s, it was predominantly J.W. Thomas Byrd in the United States and R. N. Villar from England, who facilitated the breakthrough for the arthroscopic technique.
It was a stroke of luck that I happened to be in Boston (USA) during this time and was able to participate in the entire development of modern hip arthroscopy from its very beginning.
Night after night, we young surgeons and scientists spent our time in the biomechanics laboratory in order to optimize the technique and identify the best access points for positioning the camera and the special instruments. It was then that we also started to develop a set of special instruments because no appropriate instruments were available at the time. Today these instruments are manufactured in Switzerland and used all over the world.
Back in Switzerland, we began with hip arthroscopy in 1996 – at a time when it was generally assumed that this kind of surgery would not be possible.
Rapid developments in the field of hip arthroscopy followed. At the world's largest congress of orthopaedic surgeons in 2003, experts concluded: "There is no longer any reason to perform a jointpreserving hip surgery as open surgery. With good technique, these procedures can all be performed arthroscopically." Arthroscopic surgery naturally has tremendous advantages.