Hip Arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that enables medical professionals to observe the hip joint without the need for a large skin incision. This procedure is employed to diagnose and treat an array of hip issues. The surgeon uses a small camera, known as an arthroscope, to enter the hip joint. The camera produces images on a video screen, and the surgeon employs these pictures to guide miniature surgical instruments. Because the arthroscope and instruments are thin, the surgeon can use tiny incisions instead of larger ones required for open surgery. As a result, patients usually experience less pain and joint stiffness, and the recovery period is frequently shorter, allowing for quicker return to daily activities. While hip arthroscopy has been performed for many years, it is not as widely practiced as arthroscopy for the knee or shoulder.

Diseases treated with Hip Arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy is a recommended procedure by doctors when nonsurgical treatments such as rest, medication, physical therapy, and injections that aim to reduce inflammation do not alleviate a painful condition. The surgery helps to alleviate pain caused by damage to the labrum, articular cartilage, or other soft tissues that surround the joint. While this damage may result from an injury, other orthopedic conditions such as femoroacetabular impingement, hip labrum tears, dysplasia, snapping hip syndromes, synovitis, loose bodies, hip joint infection, tendon ruptures, and disorders involving hamstrings or gluteus medius or minimus muscles may lead to these problems. Arthroscopy is effective in addressing these issues, and it requires only small incisions, resulting in less pain, stiffness, and faster recovery time compared to open surgery.

Preparation for Hip Arthroscopy

Before undergoing hip arthroscopy, your orthopaedic surgeon may advise you to visit your primary care physician for a general health evaluation. Your physician will identify any health issues that may affect the procedure. If you have specific health risks, you may require an extensive examination before the surgery.

If you are generally in good health, your hip arthroscopy procedure will likely be conducted on an outpatient basis, meaning you will not have to stay overnight in the hospital. You should inform your orthopaedic surgeon about any medicines or supplements you take, and you may have to discontinue some or all of these before the surgery.

The hospital or surgical center will contact you ahead of time to provide specific details about your procedure. You must follow the instructions about when to arrive and, particularly, when to stop eating or drinking before your procedure.


Before the surgery, a member of the anesthesia team will assess you. Hip arthroscopy is typically done under general anesthesia, which involves going to sleep during the procedure. Regional anesthesia, such as spinal or epidural, can also be used, in which you are awake, but your lower body is numb. Your orthopaedic surgeon and anesthesiologist will discuss which type of anesthesia is best for you

Hip Arthroscopy Procedure

Hip arthroscopy surgery typically involves the following steps:

  • Anesthesia: The patient is given general anesthesia, which means they are asleep during the surgery. Alternatively, regional anesthesia, such as a spinal or epidural block, may be used to numb the lower half of the body while the patient remains awake.
  • Incisions: The surgeon makes two or three small incisions around the hip joint. These incisions are usually less than half an inch long.
  • Arthroscopic camera insertion: A small, thin tube with a camera (arthroscope) is inserted into one of the incisions. This allows the surgeon to see inside the hip joint on a monitor.
  • Instrument insertion: Small instruments are inserted into the other incisions to perform the surgery. The instruments vary depending on the specific procedure being performed, but they may include probes, scissors, shavers, and lasers.
  • Surgery: The surgeon uses the instruments to perform the necessary repairs or corrections to the hip joint. This may include removing bone spurs, repairing a torn labrum, smoothing out rough cartilage, or removing inflamed tissue.
  • Closing the incisions: At the end of the procedure, the instruments are removed, and the incisions are closed with sutures or small bandages.
  • Post-surgery: After the surgery, the patient is taken to a recovery room to wake up from the anesthesia. Pain medications may be prescribed to help manage any discomfort. Physical therapy is usually recommended to help restore strength and flexibility to the hip joint.

The exact steps of a hip arthroscopy surgery may vary depending on the specific procedure being performed and the patient’s individual needs.

Benefits of Procedure

The extent of your recovery after arthroscopy and ability to resume unrestricted activities will be determined by the specific damage to your hip. Your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend making some changes to your lifestyle to help protect the joint. For instance, you might need to switch from high-impact activities, such as running, to lower-impact ones, like cycling or swimming. Ultimately, the success of the procedure will depend on the extent of the damage and in some cases, complete reversal may not be possible.

Hip arthroscopy offers several benefits over traditional open surgery for hip problems, including:

  • Less invasive: As the procedure is minimally invasive, it requires only small incisions and causes less trauma to the surrounding tissues.
  • Reduced pain: Because of the smaller incisions, there is generally less pain and discomfort than with traditional surgery.
  • Shorter recovery time: Patients can often return to normal activities more quickly following hip arthroscopy than with traditional surgery.
  • Fewer complications: The risk of complications, such as infection and blood clots, is generally lower with arthroscopy.
  • Accurate diagnosis and treatment: Arthroscopy allows the surgeon to see inside the hip joint and diagnose and treat the problem more accurately.