Sports with sudden twisting or pivoting motions such as golf or softball can lead to injury, dislocation or other painful conditions of the hip joint. Contact sports and running can also lead to hip injuries and conditions. If your hip problem is severe, and non-surgical treatments have not helped you, your doctor may recommend hip arthroscopy. With new advances in technology, surgeons are able to treat and repair a wide variety of hip problems arthroscopically, including loose bodies, labral tears, cartilage damage, bone spurs, arthritis and femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). With hip arthroscopy it is important to find surgeons who perform the surgery often, and physical therapists experienced with recovery. Hoag Orthopedic Institute is an orthopedic center for excellence where all members of the surgical team are highly experienced in leading edge surgeries.

The basics of hip arthroscopy are similar to arthroscopy of other joints.  A camera and light source are inserted into the joint and a video image is projected onto a large monitor in the operating room. This allows the surgeon to examine the interior of the hip and determine the source of the problem. Salt water is pumped into the joint in a process called lavage, and this allows for a clear picture. During the procedure, the surgeon may also insert surgical instruments, through other small incisions in the hip, in order to remove or repair damaged tissues. Arthroscopy of the hip requires a way to distract the joint, and this is typically performed with a special operating table. Flexible tools have been designed to improve access to problems inside the hip joint.

At Hoag, hip arthroscopy is done on an outpatient basis for healthy patients. The procedure may take from two to three hours. Operating rooms at Hoag are state-of-the-art and the standard of care is high, and personalized, with the nurse to patient ratio an outstanding one to one, or one to two. Before, during and after your surgery the focus of the entire Hoag team will be on safety, pain management and the optimal outcome.

When the surgery is completed, a member of Hoag’s physical therapy team will work with you to get the joint moving. Your surgeon and physical therapist will create an exercise program for you which will be a crucial part of your recovery process, so it is essential to continue with the exercises as directed. All patients must use crutches after hip arthroscopy, usually for 2 weeks. Some patients will need to be on crutches longer, for example if a labral refixation is performed. Careful rehabilitation after the return home is essential to achieving the best results.