What Is Hip Arthroscopy? Who Needs It? What To Expect?

Ouch! Hip pain and injuries are very disturbing and they hurt like the devil. When the injury is severe, however, this calls for hip arthroscopy that’s performed by orthopedic surgeons. Don’t know what it is? Well, keep on reading to find out more.

Hip Arthroscopy

A hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that’s employed to treat a lot of hip issues and injuries.

Most people with hip injuries can fall into the categories of either old age, overuse of the hip, or playing too much sports. These factors can lead to a lot of issues with the hip.

Most people will experience a clicking or chipping noise when they stand up or try to move their hips, so those can be signs that your ball and socket joint is affected.

A hip arthroscopy involves making a small incision and using a probe with a camera attached to it to go inside the hip and see what problems lie. It is usually a very quick and simple surgery with no need for large incisions and open-skin surgical procedures. You’ll probably only get one to two incisions, depending on how severe the condition of your hip is and what places need to be fixed.

The camera and light probe, in combination, is essentially known as an arthroscope and it’s kind of like the eyes for the surgeon to see where the problem is and what needs to be removed from the hip to relieve the patient of the pain and discomfort.

Why Do You Need Hip Arthroscopy?

There are several problems with the hip, which include the following:

Snapped Hip

This can happen when you move your hips and hear a snapping sound. It can be due to a dislocation in the hip joint or it can be a broken fragment of the bone that’s causing the sound to reverberate. In this condition, your hip specialist may suggest this minimally invasive surgery. A hip arthroscopy can be employed to see the damage and fix the joint.

Hip Bursitis

There are many parts in the body where there are sacs filled with fluids called bursa. These sacs help to cushion the bones and prevent rubbing of bones against one another.

Sometimes, these sacs can get inflamed or swollen, and touching or even putting weight on them can cause a lot of pain. A hip arthroscopy can help to remove the inflamed bursa from the hip so that you can feel relieved.

Hip Impingement

Hip impingement is the bony growth on either one or both sides of the hip joint. It is also known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI).

Rubbing of the bony growth against another bone can cause the cartilage to get damaged and that can cause a lot of pain and difficulty in moving the hip. Hip arthroscopy can be done to shave off the growth from the hip joint to retain its original anatomy.

Labral Tear

The labra is also another important part of the hip that flexes the hip and gives the bone assembly sufficient elasticity. It can get torn if you move your body too much or beyond its limit. This can occur in people who play a lot of sports and have hip dysplasia and other associated disorders.

Tendon Tears

The abductor tendons of the hip give the whole bone assembly strength and aid in walking and rotating the hips. If these tendons are torn, then the hips can turn weak, and the affected area will hurt a lot.

What To Expect Before Hip Arthroscopy?

If the pain in your hip is unbearable to the point where medicine isn’t working and lifestyle modifications do nothing for it, then you will need to go to a doctor to get your hip checked.

The doctor will take a look at your hip through X-rays and MRI scans for a detailed examination and your history will also be read. Once that is done, you will probably want to get an arthroscopy done and the doctor will walk you through the steps and precautions.

Arthroscopy is a common procedure that’s done for many joints like the hip, knee, elbow, etc. However, it must be done by a specialist. For instance, knee arthroscopy should be done by an elbow specialist Woodbridge.

Once you’ve made up your mind for the hip surgery, the doctor will advise you to:

  • Stop smoking a few weeks before the surgery
  • Stop taking blood thinning medication or other drugs that might hinder the procedure
  • Get your blood tests done for a standard procedure and protocol
  • Get an anesthesia fitness for your body so that you can get the all-clear for surgery
  • Get your surgery scheduled in the coming days and prepare for it, so that everything goes smoothly.

What Happens In Hip Arthroscopy?

This is what happens in hip arthroscopy:

First things first, you’ll go under anesthesia. This can be done locally or generally, so the choice is up to you. This is something that you’ll need to discuss at the time of the anesthesia fitness so that the process can get started immediately.

Once it’s lights out for you, the doctor will make a small incision, about less than an inch thick, and insert the arthroscope in the body. The doctor will know where to insert the probe as the X-ray has already shown the place that needs to be looked at.

The camera, displaying the hip and its inside on the screen, will guide the doctor as to where the problem is. Once it’s detected, the doctor might or might not make another incision to get access to the affected area and fix the issue, whether it be a bony growth, a fissure crack, or a swollen Bursae.

Once everything is dealt with, the incisions are closed with sutures and the anesthesia is worn off bit by bit until you gain consciousness again. You will feel groggy, but the IV fluids will help to flush the remaining anesthesia from your body and you’ll feel alright in a couple of hours.

Post-Surgery – Healing & Care

This is what you can expect and need to do after getting a hip arthroscopy.

  • Your incision might feel painful and that’s completely normal. Since it’s a small incision, you can go home on the day of the surgery with some prescription painkillers to deal with the pain.
  • Make sure to take good care of the incision and not get it wet. Change the bandage if it gets wet and keep an eye out for infections and abnormal swelling.
  • You will also need to take it slow for a couple of weeks, so refrain from lifting too much weight or even bending down too much. You should not put too much strain on your newly healed hip.
  • Try to keep pressure off the incision. If you can, sleep on the side that doesn’t have the incision at least for the first 2 weeks or so and then you are good to go.
  • Don’t be afraid of light exercises and walking. Movement will help to heal the hip and incision quickly and you’ll feel good.


A hip arthroscopy is a serious life-saving procedure that can turn your life around for the better. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re someone who’s in terrible pain because of your hip, then you need to consider it. Not sure if you should get it done, follow the advice of your hip orthopedic surgeon Woodbridge.

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