Hip arthroscopy is surgery that is done by making small cuts around your hip and looking inside using a tiny camera. Other medical instruments may also be inserted to examine or treat your hip joint.
During arthroscopy of the hip, the surgeon uses a tiny camera called an arthroscope to see inside your hip.
- An arthroscope is made up of a tiny tube, a lens, and a light source. A small surgical cut is made to insert it into your body.
- The surgeon will look inside your hip joint for damage or disease.
- Other medical instruments may also be inserted through one or two other small surgical cuts. This allows the surgeon to treat or fix certain problems, if needed.
- Your surgeon may remove extra pieces of bone that are loose in your hip joint, or fix cartilage or other tissues that are damaged.
Why the Procedure is Performed
The most common reasons for hip arthroscopy are to:
- Remove small pieces of bone or cartilage that may be loose inside your hip joint and causing pain
- Repair a torn labrum (a tear in the cartilage that is attached to the rim of your hip socket bone)
Less common reasons for hip arthroscopy are:
- Hip impingement syndrome (also called femora-acetabular impingement, or FAI). This procedure is done when other treatment has not helped the condition.
- Hip pain that does not go away and your doctor suspects a problem that hip arthroscopy can fix. Most of the time, your doctor will first inject numbing medicine into the hip to see if the pain goes away.
If you do not have one of these problems, hip arthroscopy will probably not be useful for treating your hip arthritis.
The risks for any anesthesia and surgery are:
- Allergic reactions to medicines
- Breathing problems
Other risks from this surgery include:
- Bleeding into the hip joint
- Damage to the cartilage or ligaments in the hip
- Blood clot in the leg
- Injury to a blood vessel or nerve
- Infection in the hip joint
- Hip stiffness
Before the Procedure
Always tell your health care provider which drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
During the 2 weeks before your surgery:
- You may be asked to stop taking drugs that make it harder for your blood to clot. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), and other drugs.
- Ask your provider which drugs you should still take on the day of your surgery.
- Tell your provider if you have been drinking a lot of alcohol, more than 1 or 2 drinks a day.
- If you smoke, try to stop. Ask your providers for help. Smoking can slow down wound and bone healing.
On the day of your surgery:
- You will most often be asked not to drink or eat anything for 6 to 12 hours before the procedure.
- Take the drugs you were told to take with a small sip of water.
- You will be told when to arrive at the hospital.
After the Procedure
Whether you fully recover after hip arthroscopy depends on what type of problem was treated.
If you also have arthritis in your hip, you will still have arthritis symptoms after hip surgery.
After surgery, you will need to use crutches for 2 to 6 weeks.
- During the first week, you should not place any weight on the side that had surgery.
- You will slowly be allowed to place more and more weight on the hip that had surgery after the first week.
Your surgeon will tell you when it is OK to return to work. Most people can go back to work within 1 to 2 weeks if they are able to sit most of the time.
You will be referred to physical therapy to begin an exercise program.
Arthroscopy - hip; Hip impingement syndrome - arthroscopy; Femora-acetabular impingement - arthroscopy; FAI - arthroscopy; Labrum - arthroscopy
Johnson D, Weiss WM. Basic arthroscopic principles. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 11.
Sanchez VMI, Meza AO. Hip arthroscopy. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 82.
Update Date 7/13/2015
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.