What is hip arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery used to treat issues in your hip. Your surgeon will make a few small incisions (cuts) in the skin of your hip then insert a special tool called an arthroscope into your hip joint. The arthroscope includes a camera and a light that lets your surgeon identify and repair damage inside your hip. They�ll also insert any other small tools they need to repair damage to your bones or connective tissues.

The incisions required to perform a hip arthroscopy are much smaller than other forms of surgery, which means it�s less stressful on your body than other procedures. You�ll need physical therapy after your surgery to increase your strength and ability to move your hip again. Most people need a few months to recover after a hip arthroscopy.


What are the advantages of hip arthroscopy?

A hip scope has several advantages over traditional open hip surgery, because it:

  • causes very little trauma to the joint (which minimizes hip pain and scarring)
  • is generally done on an outpatient basis (where patients return home after the procedure)
  • typically has a short recovery period
  • may postpone the advancement of hip arthritis by treating its cause in the early stages
  • can delay or eliminate the need for a hip replacement by preemptively treating conditions that cause osteoarthritis of the hip

Hip arthroscopy vs. total hip replacement

  • Hip arthroscopy is a much less invasive procedure than a total hip replacement (hip arthroplasty).
  • For many people, an arthroscopy will solve the issues causing pain or mobility issues in their hips.
  • If arthroscopy isn�t successful � or if your symptoms are severe enough � your provider might recommend a hip replacement.
  • People with significant damage to their cartilage or severe arthritis usually need total hip replacements.

Why hip arthroscopy is done?

Hip arthroscopy is an effective, minimally invasive surgery that can treat a wide range of issues.

Some of the most common conditions hip arthroscopy is used to treat include:

  • Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI): Also called hip impingement � is an unusually shaped hip joint that causes two bones in your hip to rub together
  • Removing pieces of bone or cartilage: If your hip�s bones or cartilage are damaged, or loose pieces inside your joint are causing you pain, your surgeon can remove them.
  • Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a condition that means your femur does not fit together with the pelvis as it should.
  • Tendon tears: Tendons link your muscles to your bones. Your surgeon can reattach tendons that have torn away from the bones in your hip during an injury.
  • Tendon releases: Contractures (tendons that are too tight) can be released or moved with hip arthroscopy.
  • Labral tears: Labral tears are injuries to the labrum, the soft tissue that covers the acetabulum (socket) of your hip. A labral tear can be caused by trauma, structural problems or degenerative issues.
What happens before hip arthroscopy?

Before your hip arthroscopy, you might need to:

  • Stop taking certain medications:
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce how much alcohol you drink
  • Fasting: You might need to plan ahead and not eat or drink anything except water up to 12 hours before surgery.
What happens during hip arthroscopy?
  • During a hip arthroscopy a few small cuts (about the size of a buttonhole) are made in the skin on your hip and insert the arthroscope.
  • We also insert any other tools they need to repair any damage to your hip�s bones or connective tissues.
  • �You will receive either regional anesthesia near your hip to make sure you don�t feel pain during the surgery or general anesthesia to put you to sleep during the operation.
  • Most arthroscopies take around 90 minutes, but the length of your surgery will depend on your unique needs.


Hip arthroscopy is much less invasive than other types of surgery. The procedure needs a few small incisions to fix the underlying issue(s) in your hip. This means you should experience:

  • A faster recovery time.
  • Less pain after the surgery.
  • Minimal blood loss and scarring.
  • Lower risk for complications compared to more invasive surgery techniques.

Risks or Complications

Potential complications from hip arthroscopy include:

  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia.
  • Blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • Damage to surrounding tissue or nerves.
  • Excessive bleeding or swelling.
  • Infections.
  • Numbness or tingling in your groin, thigh or foot.
  • A need for further surgery if your underlying issues don’t improve.

Recovery time

Most people recover from a hip arthroscopy in around six weeks. Your exact time to heal fully will depend on why you needed surgery.

  • You�ll need crutches for a week or two after your surgery. After that, you should be able to walk and put more weight on your hip.
  • You will also need physical therapy. This could last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months after your surgery. You should be able to return to heavy exercise and/or sports in around 12 weeks.
When can I go back to work or school after hip arthroscopy?

If your job or schoolwork involves sitting at a desk or in an office, you should be cleared to return to work or school after a week or two. Check with your provider or surgeon before resuming any activity that might put stress on your hip.

When should I see my doctor?

You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:

  • Intense pain or bleeding at the incision site.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Signs of infection, such as fever or discoloration at the incision site.