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Hip arthroscopy

Reasons to perform hip arthroscopy

The most common reasons for hip arthroscopy are to:

  • Remove small pieces of bone or cartilage that may be floating around inside your hip joint and causing pain.
  • Repair or remove a torn labrum (a tear in the cartilage that attaches along the rim of your hip socket bone).
  • Hip impingement syndrome (also called femoroacetabular impingement, or FAI), when no other treatment has helped.

Less common reasons for hip arthroscopy are:

  • Hip pain that does not go away and your doctor suspects a problem that hip arthroscopy can fix. Most of the time, your doctor will first inject numbing medicine into the hip to see if the pain goes away.
  • Tendon tightness or pain that limits your range of motion.
  • Abnormal growth in the hip joint that produces lots of loose bodies that causes catching and locking.

If one of these problems are not present, hip arthroscopy may not be as successful in treating your hip pain.

What happens during hip arthroscopy

During arthroscopy of the hip, the surgeon uses a tiny camera to see inside your hip.

  • An arthroscope consists of a tiny tube, a lens, and a light source. The surgeon will look inside your hip joint for damage or disease. Only a small incision or cut is made.
  • Other medical instruments may also be inserted through one or two other small surgical cuts. This allows the surgeon to treat or repair certain problems, if needed.
  • Using these tools, your surgeon will remove extra pieces of bone that are loose in your hip joint or make repairs to cartilage or other tissues that may be damaged.
  • Spinal or epidural anesthesia or general anesthesia will most likely be used so you won't feel any pain. You may also receive medicine to help you relax.

What happens after hip arthroscopy

After surgery, you will be asked to use crutches for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks.

  • During the first week, you should not place any weight on the side that had surgery and use crutches for getting around.
  • After that, you will slowly be allowed to place more weight on the hip that had surgery. However, this will depend on the type of procedure you had and the condition. It is very important to listen to your surgeon and confirm your activity level.

Most likely, you can return to work within 1 to 2 weeks if you're able to sit most of the time.

You will be referred to physical therapy to begin an exercise program.

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Review Date: 12/31/2018

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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