Hip Arthroscopy

What is hip arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to treat femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), labral tears, and hip pain. During the surgery, a small camera (called an arthroscope) is inserted into the joint through a tiny incision. The camera allows for a clear view of the hip ball-and-socket joint.

Using arthroscopy, your doctor can confirm your diagnosis and repair any injured tissue. The camera displays pictures onto a screen, and surgical instruments are guided into your hip to repair the tear.

Learn more about hip anatomy

Learn more about FAI and labral tears

What happens during a hip arthroscopy?

Although every patient is different, here is what typically happens during a hip arthroscopy procedure:

  • Your doctor makes two to three small incisions.
  • Tools are placed inside the hip through the incisions.
  • A small fiber-optic camera lets your surgeon visualize the injury and confirm your diagnosis.
  • A shaver, trimmer, or any other device necessary to repair your hip is inserted opposite the camera.
  • Sometimes a third tool irrigates the joint and, if necessary, expands it.

Who is a good candidate for a hip arthroscopy?

Candidates for a hip arthroscopy are active individuals without arthritis whose groin pain is keeping them from participating in daily activities and sports. An ideal surgical patient is motivated, eager to return to a high level of function, and willing to participate in an intensive postoperative rehabilitation program. Hip arthroscopy patients are typically less than 50 years old.

Patients with hip conditions such as dysplasia or osteoarthritis are usually not recommended for hip arthroscopy, although they may be candidates for other types of surgical treatment.

What are the risks of hip arthroscopy?

As with any surgery, arthroscopy has risks. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Temporary numbness
  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Continuing hip problems

What can I expect before hip arthroscopy?

You will need a preoperative physical performed by your primary care provider within 30 days before surgery. If you do not have this done, we will have to cancel and reschedule your surgery.

What can I expect after a hip arthroscopy?

Here is what happens after your hip arthroscopy procedure:

  • Immediately after surgery, you will be placed in a recovery room and monitored by a nurse.
  • If after several hours you are awake and alert, a nurse will help you get ready to go home.
  • You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • You can expect to need help around the house for two weeks after surgery.
  • You will wear a postoperative hip brace until your second postoperative visit with your doctor.
  • You will be on crutches for a minimum of three weeks.
  • The Summit team believes in physical therapy after arthroscopic hip surgery to return patients to activities such as hockey, skiing, dance, and running.

What can I expect while I am recovering at home after a hip arthroscopy?

  • You should rest, ice, elevate, and perform gentle exercises as directed by your doctor.
  • Do not spend an extended amount of time standing, walking, or taking trips up and down stairs for two weeks after surgery.
  • Medication will be prescribed to you for the postoperative pain. It is your responsibility to have the prescription filled.
  • Before surgery, your physician will schedule a postoperative clinic visit. At this visit, you will discuss the surgical procedure and findings, physical therapy, and further activity guidelines.

What is cold compression therapy, and why did my doctor recommend it?

Your doctor may prescribe a cold compression therapy unit for you to use after your surgery. Integrated cold and compression is clinically proven to:

  • Reduce postoperative swelling
  • Decrease pain
  • Help you regain range of motion

Summit Orthopedics believes that the cold compression therapy unit will provide you with the best possible outcome in the days following your surgery.

How long will it take to recover from a hip arthroscopy?

The length of your recovery can vary, so talk with your orthopedic surgeon about the recovery plan for your specific situation.

More resources for you

Also see...

  • hip pain surgical options

    Ask Dr. Hansen: What Are The Surgical Options For Hip Pain?

    When patients complain of hip pain, we’ll try first to treat pain with nonsurgical treatment. If conservative treatments fail to control pain, Dr. Hansen explains the available surgical options you might consider.

  • Ask Dr. Furmanek: What Is Arthroscopy?

    Arthroscopic procedures have increased surgical accuracy with less invasive techniques that also improve the patient recuperation experience. Dr. Furmanek explains how arthroscopy works.

  • Ask Dr. Skendzel: Recovering from Hip Surgery Takes a Team

    Surgical advances in hip surgery have been extraordinary, but regaining joint function is a team effort involving your surgeon and highly trained therapists. Dr. Skendzel explains how to maximize your surgery outcome.