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Hip arthroscopy

At Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre, we have a team of orthopaedic consultants and hip surgeons. Occasionally, they perform a minimally invasive procedure called a hip arthroscopy to diagnose and treat problems with the hip joint. This is a ball and socket joint. The top of your thigh bone is shaped like a ball, which fits into a hollow socket of your pelvis.

What is a hip arthroscopy?

An arthroscopy is a type of keyhole surgery. If you have pain or other symptoms in the hip, your surgeon inserts a thin metal tube called an arthroscope into the hip joint. This tube has a light and camera at one end. Your surgeon can see inside the hip joint and diagnose any damage or medical conditions.

It may be possible to treat the problem in your hip joint at the same time using tiny surgical instruments. A hip arthroscopy is not so common as a knee or shoulder arthroscopy. However, it can be an effective way to treat various hip problems and improve your symptoms.

Why might I need a hip arthroscopy?

You may need a hip arthroscopy if an injury has not healed or you have persistent pain, swelling or stiffness. Together with an  MRI or CT scan, a hip arthroscopy can give your surgeon a detailed picture of the structure inside your hip joint. This allows your surgeon to make an accurate diagnosis and treat a wide range of problems during the same procedure.

A hip arthroscopy can be used to:

  • examine any damage to the hip ball and socket or surrounding tissue
  • remove painful bone spurs (growths) in the hip ball or socket caused by hip impingement (when extra bone grows in the hip joint and prevents smooth movement)
  • repair a hip labral tear (a tear in the ring of cartilage around the hip socket)
  • remove or repair damaged cartilage (protective tissue around the hip joint), tendons (tissue that connects muscles to bones) or ligaments (tissue that connects bones)
  • remove loose material, such as small fragments of bone or cartilage
  • remove inflamed joint lining caused by synovitis (when the lining of the hip joint swells)
  • treat an infection in the hip joint or snapping hip syndrome (a snapping sensation around the hip joint with certain movements)
  • take small samples of tissue for testing (this is called a biopsy and can help to diagnose infections and other issues)

Are there any alternatives to a hip arthroscopy?

Your orthopaedic consultant prepares an individual treatment plan. They may recommend a hip arthroscopy if you are still in pain after non-surgical treatment. This could include rest, physiotherapy and medicines or steroid injections to reduce inflammation. The consultant explains why a hip arthroscopy may be suitable and whether there are any alternatives.

What are the benefits of having a hip arthroscopy?

A hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure. The surgeon can examine your hip joint and carry out precise repairs through small cuts in your skin. This modern procedure has several advantages over traditional ‘open’ surgery. The main benefits are:

  • less pain, stiffness and scarring after your operation
  • a faster recovery time
  • a lower risk of infection or other complications

In some cases, the procedure can reduce the chance of developing osteoarthritis (the most common type of hip arthritis). It may help to postpone or avoid the need for a hip replacement.

How can I prepare for having a hip arthroscopy?

Before you have a hip arthroscopy, we ask you to attend a pre-operative assessment clinic. A nurse assesses your general health and decides whether you are fit to have an anaesthetic.

We give you clear information about how to prepare for the procedure. For example, we explain whether you can eat and drink or take your usual medicines in advance. We also discuss the benefits and risks of having a hip arthroscopy. This is a low-risk procedure, but you can raise any concerns and ask us questions.

What happens during a hip arthroscopy procedure?

A hip arthroscopy is a day surgery procedure and you do not usually need to stay in hospital overnight. At Parkside Private Hospital, we have a £2.7 million refurbished Day Unit. There are 12 private pods specially designed for patients having day surgery. We also have four modern operating theatres.

You normally have a general anaesthetic. This means that you are asleep during the procedure and do not feel any pain. Depending on what treatment you have, the procedure may take between 30 minutes and two hours.

During the procedure, you lie on an operating table called a traction table. This pulls firmly on your leg. The ball of the hip joint is pulled away from the socket slightly to create space for inserting instruments. Your surgeon then makes small cuts around the hip and inserts the long, thin tube with a light and camera called an arthroscope.

Your hip joint is filled with a sterile liquid to make it bigger and easier to examine. The camera sends pictures of the inside of your hip joint to a computer screen. Your surgeon can then diagnose any damage in the hip joint. They may also carry out treatment with fine instruments, such as removing or repairing damaged tissue or bone.

After the procedure, your surgeon drains any excess fluid in the hip joint. They close the small cuts with special tape or stitches and put a bandage on your hip.

What happens after a hip arthroscopy procedure?

After having a hip arthroscopy, you recover in our modern and comfortable Day Unit. Our expert team look after you and give you any pain relief that you need.

When you have recovered from the anaesthetic, a physiotherapist visits you and helps you to start moving. You are likely to need crutches or a walking frame for a period of time. Your physiotherapist teaches you some gentle exercises to strengthen your hip muscles.

You can usually go home on the same day. Before you leave the hospital, we give you practical advice on taking care of your hip. You need to keep your wounds clean and dry until they have healed. It is also important to elevate (raise) your leg as much as possible. Our pharmacy gives you any painkillers or other medicines that your consultant has prescribed. These medicines may include aspirin to reduce the risk of blood clots.

How long it takes to recover from a hip arthroscopy depends on the specific treatment that you had. We explain when it is safe to return to work or other activities. Most people recover well and have a good outcome. We arrange a follow-up appointment with your consultant to monitor your progress. Our nurses are available 24 hours a day to deal with any concerns or questions.

Book now

If you have hip pain and need an arthroscopy, Parkside Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Centre provides first-class independent healthcare.

To enquire about the price of a hip arthroscopy, please call 020 3925 1062 or complete this form online.

To make an appointment at Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre, please call 020 3944 0568 or complete this form online . Appointments are available six days a week.