Learn more about hip arthroscopies at King Edward VII’s Hospital
Why would I need hip arthroscopy surgery?
Most people who require hip arthroscopy surgery need it because they have pain in their hip caused by impingment, also known as femoroacetabular impingement. This condition occurs when there is abnormal contact between the femur (thigh bone) and the pelvis. This can cause damage to some special cartilage (the labrum) around the rim of the hip socket. Hip arthroscopy can also be used to treat other problems related to the hip such as loose bodies in the joint, snapping tendons or infections. Hip arthroscopy cannot be used to treat arthritis (severe wear of the lining of the joint) or severe dysplasia (underdevelopment of the hip joint).
What symptoms does hip arthroscopy surgery address?
Hip arthroscopy surgery is used to diagnose and treat hip pain, discomfort and stiffness, a clicking within the hip or difficulty walking or running.
When should you speak to your specialist about hip arthroscopy surgery?
Hip (femoroacetabular) impingement and labral tears can sometimes be treated with physiotherapy. If you have been diagnosed with a labral tear or hip impingement and do not see a significant improvement in your symptoms after a short course of physiotherapy, it is worth discussing hip arthroscopy surgery with your specialist.
How is hip arthroscopy surgery performed?
Hip arthroscopy surgery is carried out as a keyhole procedure under general anaesthetic. You lay on a special table that pulls on your leg to open up your hip joint by about a centimetre.
Your surgeon will then make a few small incisions in the skin around your hip and will pass a long, thin telescopic camera into your hip joint. They will view your hip joint on a nearby screen and if necessary, will remove loose tissue or repair damaged tissue.
The procedure takes between one to two hours and the area will be bandaged when you wake up.
What is the recovery like for hip arthroscopy surgery?
Your recovery from hip arthroscopy surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure.
Most people can return home from hospital the same day as this procedure but some may require a one night stay in hospital.
You can expect some swelling and bruising in the area as well as the possibility of discomfort in the hip, lower back and buttocks.
Your surgeon will provide you with advice on how best to recover, and you will be advised to rest for a few days. They will also advise you when it will be ok for you to put weight on your hip and when your dressings and any stiches will be removed. Most people are advised to take one to two weeks off work after surgery. Best results from surgery are achieved by following a structured rehabilitation programme under the supervision of a physiotherapist.
Are there any risks/complications associated with hip arthroscopy surgery?
As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or surgeon beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.
Hip arthroscopy surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:
- An infection in the surgical wound
- Bleeding inside the hip joint
- A blood clot called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Nerve damage
- Tendon damage
- Re-tear of the labrum
How can I prepare for hip arthroscopy surgery?
Prior to hip arthroscopy surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare, as each patient is different with differing needs.
Common preparations for hip arthroscopy surgery include:
- Routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon
- Taking steps to stop smoking if you smoke
- Losing weight if you’re overweight
- Remaining active and doing regular exercise
Are there alternatives for hip arthroscopy surgery?
Depending on how much discomfort you’re experiencing, it may be possible to manage your pain using lifestyle changes, painkillers, steroid injections and physiotherapy.