Hip Arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy is particularly beneficial to younger patients who have pain associated with hip joint motion and do not yet have advanced arthritis of the hip joint. The goal is to help take away pain and limited motion by removing the abnormal bone and repairing any associated labral tears or addressing any associated cartilage injuries at the time of surgery. The hope is this can delay or prevent the need for later total hip replacement.

What conditions can be helped with hip arthroscopy?

  • Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) where extra bone grows along one or both of the bones that form the hip joint causing the bones to rub against each other during movement
  • Abnormalities of the head of the femur or hip socket
  • Labral tears  which are an injury to the soft tissue (labrum) which surrounds the perimeter of the acetabulum (socket) of the hip
  • Bone Cysts
  • Cartilage injuries
  • Tendonitis and bursitis

How will I know if hip arthroscopy will benefit me?

A thorough physical examination and review of x-rays and potentially an MRI will help determine what is causing your hip pain. If you have moderate to severe arthritis in your hip, a hip replacement may be recommended instead of hip arthroscopy.

Depending on what the examination and x-rays/MRI show, the first course of action might be to try resting the joint, taking anti-inflammatory medications, trying a course of physical therapy or a steroid injection. If these treatments don’t work and you continue to have pain, hip arthroscopy might be a good solution for you.

What happens during hip arthroscopy?

You will be given a general anesthetic for a hip arthroscopy.  Once your muscles are relaxed, we utilize a special table to distract the hip joint and allow space for the small camera and instruments to be placed into the joint.  Two or three small incisions are used.  A camera is inserted through the incision providing a video feed on a nearby monitor allowing me to look into your joint.  Specialized instruments will be used to repair your hip problem.  The procedure typically takes a couple hours to complete and you will go home the same day.

What are the advantages of minimally invasive hip arthroscopy?

  • Less tissue damage as the incision is significantly smaller than the one for traditional hip surgery.
  • Being able to keep your own native bone and cartilage as opposed to having a replacement.
  • It is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia.  You will go home the same day of your surgery.

What is the recovery time?

Recovery time varies depending on your condition and what type of damage was repaired at the time of the procedure.  When we meet to discuss your potential surgery, you’ll be given more specific information about what to expect for your recovery.

In general, recovery will likely take a few months in order to allow tissues to heal and then some time to build muscles back up to form.  Results can be a little less predictable than with total hip replacement due to the variability of the specific problem being addressed through arthroscopy.

Is physical therapy needed?

Physical therapy is a very important part of your recovery.  Treatment will begin within the first few days after surgery.