What Should I Know Before a Hip Arthroscopy Procedure?


A hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, which allows your orthopaedic surgeon to examine the inside of the hip joint. It is conducted with the use of an arthroscope, a small camera, inserted into the joint to assess the condition of the hip. This outpatient procedure can be used to diagnose or treat minor damages to the hip joint.

Before a hip arthroscopy is proposed, your surgeon will first explore all non-surgical options. Hip arthroscopy is typically used to determine the cause of mobility issues or pain in the hip. Pain relief and improved mobility occur after an arthroscopy when minor conditions are addressed. In some cases, this procedure can be the first step in a treatment plan to address a larger issues in the hip.

Consult your surgeon at South Florida Orthopaedics if you are experiencing pain or impeded mobility in your hip. Your surgeon may recommend a hip arthroscopy to help alleviate your symptoms.

What is a Hip Arthroscopy?

This minimally invasive surgery gives your surgeon access to an internal view of the hip joint and the ability to provide quick solutions to some of your hip discomfort symptoms. First, your hip will be pulled away from the socket to allow the surgeon to access the entire joint. The surgeon will then create small punctures around the hip and insert the arthroscope camera and other instruments used to examine the joint. The image of the inside of the hip joint allows the surgeon the ability to examine problematic areas or damaged tissue.

Smaller conditions, such as loose or damaged cartilage can be removed and bone spurs can also be shaved. Analysis of the hip joint may be used to create additional treatment plans including additional surgery. Once the procedure is complete, the arthroscope and instruments are removed and the punctures are bandaged.

Who Can Have a Hip Arthroscopy?

If nonsurgical options have been unsuccessful for pain relief, pressure or limited mobility in the hip, the use of a hip arthroscopy can aid the surgeon in diagnosing the source of the issue. Specific condition that may require a hip arthroscopy include:

  • Cartilage damage 
  • Dysplasia: the hip socket is abnormally shallow, which makes tearing the labrum (the cartilage on the perimeter of the hip socket) more likely.
  • Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI): damage caused by bone spurs or bone overgrowth around the femoral head (top of the thighbone).
  • Hip joint infection
  • Impingement: during full hip movement, the femur (thighbone) may pinch the hip socket.
  • Loose bodies: cartilage or bone segments that have become loose and move around within the joint. These pieces may get caught in the hip and create a locking sensation during movement.
  • Snapping Hip Syndrome: a tendon rubs against the outside of the joint. This audible snap or pop is frequently harmless, but may cause damage in in the future to the tendon due to consistent rubbing.
  • Synovitis: Inflammation of the tissues surrounding the joint.

A hip arthroscopy has a high success rate for smaller conditions such as cartilage damage, loose bodies, and some forms of impingement as these can be solved during the initial procedure. If a more invasive condition exists, a hip arthroscopy can allow the surgeon to create a detailed and specific surgical plan based on the knowledge from this procedure.

How Is Recovery After a Hip Arthroscopy Procedure?

Following the procedure, crutches or a walker will be required for one to two weeks. As mobility and stability improve and limping decreases, you can begin walking independently. Physical therapy is recommended for all patients to assess the strength of the hip joint and monitor mobility improvements following surgery. Your physical therapist will create an individualized strengthening plan based on the conditions of your hip arthroscopy.

If your surgeon needed to make more invasive repairs, recovery time will increased. However, if simple solutions were found such as removal of loose cartilage, recovery can range from two to four weeks. With more invasive surgery, one to two months on crutches may be required in order to prevent further damage to the hip during healing. Recovery time may be extended to two to four months depending on how physical therapy progresses.


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