Hip Arthroscopy: Surgery & Recovery


Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure performed on the hip joint. After making several small incisions into the skin surrounding the hip, the surgeon views the joint through one of these incisions while operating on it through the other openings. As with other arthroscopic surgeries, the procedure is used to assess and repair damage to the hip and any surrounding structures.


Hip arthroscopy can be used to treat and diagnose a wide assortment of conditions, including hip labral tearship impingements, and snapping hip syndrome. It can also be used to remove scar tissue, dislodged bone or cartilage, bone spurs, and inflamed synovia. In some cases, it can be used simply to evaluate the extent of damage to the hip.


Hip arthroscopy is conducted through several small pinhole incisions surrounding the hip. After making these incisions, the surgeon introduces a camera into one of them to better view the hip while operating on it through another opening. The nature of the actual repair will vary with the condition, with some patients needing only a quick debridement of the soft tissue and others needing a complete reconstruction of a joint or ligament. After the procedure is completed, the surgeon closes the small incisions with absorbable sutures and dresses them as needed.


Because it’s a minimally invasive procedure, hip arthroscopy has fewer complications than open surgery, resulting in much shorter recovery timelines. You will need to take some precautions to prevent damage to the hip in the days following surgery, but most patients can leave the hospital the same day.


For one to two weeks following surgery, you won’t be able to bear weight on the treated hip, and you may suffer from mild to moderate pain in the joint. Your reflexes will also be slower, and your muscles won’t fire as quickly. After several weeks, however, you should be able to walk with few restrictions.

Within three to five days of surgery, you’ll begin a physical therapy program to hasten your recovery and ensure complete healing. Your rehabilitation plan will likely consist of a series of stretches and strengthening exercises designed to restore the hip’s range of motion and redevelop the surrounding muscles. After three months of therapy, you should be able to resume most normal activities, though patients with severe injuries may recover more slowly.

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