Arthroscopic hip surgery is a minimally invasive procedure for diagnosing and repairing hip conditions, such as labral tears. During hip arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts a camera into the hip to view the joint, surrounding ligaments and tissue as well as repair damage to help the joint move more freely and prevent pain.
Hip arthroscopy helps to diagnose the cause of hip pain and treat any damage found without having to proceed with open hip surgery. Along with pain relief, patients are able to regain their mobility and range of motion after they’ve recovered from surgery. Arthroscopic hip surgery uses only small incisions so there is very little scarring or pain. It also allows for a quicker recovery time than traditional open surgery.
Hip arthroscopy allows the surgeon to visualize the hip joint and identify bad mechanics and any issues that may cause excessive rubbing, interfering with the joint’s ability to move freely. The procedure is used to treat the following conditions:
- Labral tears
- Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)
- Loose bone or cartilage fragments
Symptoms that may be relieved by hip arthroscopy include:
- Hip pain
- Groin pain
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle weakness
Talk to your doctor about any medications, including non-prescription drugs and supplements, as some may increase the risk of bleeding. Because smoking may slow bone and wound healing, it is recommended that you stop smoking before your surgery.
In preparation for the surgery:
- You may be asked to stop taking certain medications for a week or two before the surgery.
- Avoid eating or drinking for 6 to 12 hours before arthroscopic hip surgery.
- Take only the medications your doctor tells you to on the day of surgery with a small sip of water.
- Arrange to have someone pick you up as you will not be able to drive yourself home after surgery.
It’s important to follow your pre-op preparation instructions as failure to do so may result in the cancellation of your surgery. Let your healthcare provider know if you have an illness, such as a cold or virus before the surgery. You will be asked to arrive at the hospital a few hours before your surgery.
You will be given general anesthesia through an IV to allow you to sleep through the procedure and not feel any pain. The surgeon will make a small incision, approximately the size of a dime, and insert a thin tube with a camera and light at the end called an arthroscope into your hip. The surgeon will view the inside of your hip joint on a monitor to look for damage. Medical instruments needed to make any repairs will be inserted through one or two other small incisions. Arthroscopic hip surgery can take from 2 to 4 hours. Once the procedure is complete, the incisions will be closed using one or two stitches each and covered in dressing.
You will be moved to a recovery room where you will be monitored for a few hours before being released. Most patients are able to go home the same day and don’t require an overnight stay.
For the first week, you will not be allowed to place any weight on the side that was operated on and you will need to use crutches for 2 to 6 weeks. After the first week, you will be able to start slowly putting more weight on the hip that had surgery. The surgeon will advise you as to when you may return to work after your follow-up appointment.
Most patients don’t require pain medication beyond the first week following a hip arthroscopy and are able to resume their normal activities within 3 or 4 months after surgery.