Hip Arthroscopy

What is Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole or minimally invasive surgery, is a procedure in which an arthroscope is inserted into a joint to check for any damage and repair it simultaneously.

An arthroscope is a small, fiber-optic instrument consisting of a lens, light source, and video camera. The camera projects an image of the inside of the joint onto a large screen monitor allowing the surgeon to look for any damage, assess the type of injury, and repair the problem.

Indications of Hip Arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy is a surgical procedure performed through very small incisions to diagnose and treat various hip conditions including:

  • Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) or hip impingement is the most common reason to undergo hip arthroscopy. This is where the socket is too deep or the femoral head is not round leading to a shape mismatch at the edge of the socket, causing injury to the articular cartilage and labrum
  • Repair a torn labrum (fibrous cartilage ring that lines the acetabular socket)
  • Removal of part of the inflamed synovium (lining of the joint) in patients with inflammatory arthritis (partial synovectomy)

Hip Arthroscopy Procedure

Hip arthroscopy is performed under general anesthesia depending on you and your surgeon’s preference.

Your surgeon will make 2 or 3 small incisions about 1/4 inch in length around the hip joint. Through one of the incisions an arthroscope is inserted. Along with it, a sterile solution is pumped into the joint to expand the joint area and create room for the surgeon to work.

Advantages of Hip Arthroscopy

The advantages of hip arthroscopy over the traditional open hip surgery include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Minimal trauma to surrounding ligaments, muscles, and tissues
  • Less pain
  • Faster recovery
  • Lower infection rate
  • Less scarring
  • Early mobilization
  • Outpatient surgery

Postoperative Care for Hip Arthroscopy

Your doctor may advise you to take certain precautions to promote faster recovery and prevent further complications. These include:

  • Taking pain medications as prescribed
  • Use of crutches for partial bearing of weight on the operated hip for 2-4 weeks
  • Physical therapy exercises should be performed to restore normal hip function and improve flexibility and strength
  • Eating a healthy diet and avoiding smoking will help in faster healing and recovery
  • Avoid activity which involves lifting heavy things or strenuous exercises for the first few weeks after surgery
  • You will be given a postoperative instructions packet and a protocol for your physical therapist to follow after surgery

Risks and Complications of Hip Arthroscopy

Overall, the complication rate is low after hip arthroscopy, however with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications involved. It is very important that you are informed of these risks before you decide to proceed with hip arthroscopy surgery. Possible risks and complications include:

  • Infection at the surgical incision site or in the joint space
  • Nerve damage which may cause numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness
  • Formation of bone in the soft tissue surrounding the joint (also called heterotopic ossification)
  • Continued pain in and around the hip
  • Blood clots may form inside the deep veins of the legs which can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism) but this is very rare.

Preoperative Patient Education

Postoperative Physical Therapy Protocol