Arthroscopic Hip Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. During an arthroscopic procedure, a surgeon uses pencil-sized instruments that contain a small lens and a lighting system that magnify and illuminate the joint. Images of the joint are displayed on monitors in the operating room, which allows the physician to see inside the joint. Arthroscopic hip procedures can be used to relieve pain, improve joint stability, repair damaged tendons or ligaments, and delay the onset of arthritis.

Your physician may recommend arthroscopy surgery if your hip joint does not respond well to conservative (nonsurgical) treatment, such as rest, physical therapy, and medications or injections that help reduce inflammation in the joint.

Arthroscopic surgery can be used to treat a variety of hip conditions, including labral tears, hip impingements, articular cartilage injuries, and damage to other soft tissues surrounding the hip joint.

Surgical Procedure

To begin the procedure your leg will be put in traction. This means that your hip will be pulled far enough away from the socket for your surgeon to access the joint, insert instruments, and preform the necessary treatment. Once traction is applied, your surgeon will make a small incision (about the size of a buttonhole) to insert the arthroscope to view inside the hip joint and identify any damage.

The arthroscope is only used to view inside the joint to help provide an accurate diagnosis of the problem. Additional small incisions will be made to accommodate the surgical instruments needed to successfully perform the procedure. These instruments are used to trim, cut, shave, stitch, or smooth the damaged area.

Arthroscopic hip surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure at Crestwood Medical Center and the Surgery Center of Huntsville. Patients will report to the surgery center, undergo the surgical procedure, and following a recovery period you will be able to return home later the same day. No overnight hospital stay is required.


All surgical procedures carry certain risk factors. Complications related to arthroscopic hip surgery are minimal. Any surgical procedure involving the hip joint carries a small risk of injury to the surrounding nerves, vessels, or the joint itself. The traction needed for the procedure can stretch nerves which can cause numbness, but this is usually temporary.


Recovery time will vary based on what type of procedure is performed during the hip arthroscopy. If a simple debridement is performed, patients can expect to be on crutches for just a few days and will be able to return to work or school within 2-5 days. If a more extensive procedure is performed, such as a labral repair or arthroscopy for femoroactabular impingement then a longer recovery will be required. Patients will typically be on crutches for 4-6 weeks with full recovery expected over several months. Time off from work will vary depending on a patient’s job description.