Hip Arthroscopy

What is hip arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is an advanced surgical procedure designed to assess and treat various hip issues without the need for significant incisions. 

Unlike traditional open surgery, hip arthroscopy utilises a small camera, known as an arthroscope, which is inserted into the hip joint. The arthroscope transmits real-time images to a video monitor, allowing the surgeon to navigate miniature surgical instruments with precision. 

This minimally invasive approach involves thin incisions, reducing postoperative pain and joint stiffness while facilitating a quicker recovery. The procedure is particularly effective for diagnosing and addressing conditions such as cartilage tears, loose bodies, impingement, and ligament tears within the hip joint.


Hip arthroscopy is a meticulously performed procedure conducted in the operating theatre under general anaesthetic.

Once under anaesthesia, patients are gently rolled onto their side, and their legs are placed into a traction device, facilitating joint distraction for the insertion of the arthroscope. X-ray imaging is employed to precisely confirm the location of hip pathology and ensure accurate positioning of the arthroscope and surgical instruments.

Typically, two small incisions are made on the outer aspect of the hip, although occasionally a third incision may be necessary to complete the procedure. The arthroscope, inserted through the incisions, provides a clear view of the hip's interior and images from the arthroscope guide the surgeon in assessing the joint before specific treatments commence. Various procedures, such as smoothing torn cartilage, labrum repair, bone spur trimming, and synovial tissue removal, can be performed based on individual needs.

Following the arthroscopy, the joint is infiltrated with local anaesthetic before patients are discharged after an overnight hospital stay.


Complications from hip arthroscopy are not common.

Risks of any operation

  • Risks associated with any anaesthetic (e.g. nausea and vomiting, allergic reaction to the drugs, throat pain or swelling, and damage to the teeth.)
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood Clots

Risks of Hip Arthroscopy 

  • Infection
  • Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) 
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE)
  • Numbness and/or bruising and swelling in the anal, genitalia or inner thigh regions

Recovery and Rehabilitation

After hip arthroscopy, a comprehensive rehabilitation programme is crucial for optimal recovery. Post-operative physiotherapy follow-up is arranged, with most patients achieving comfortable walking within 4-7 days. Driving should be refrained from during this period. 

The initial focus of physiotherapy is on retraining and strengthening the small muscles around the hip, which play a vital role in stability. Subsequently, attention shifts to the larger muscle groups, including the hamstrings, gluteals, and quadriceps. 

The return to work timeline varies depending on the nature of the occupation, with sedentary jobs typically resuming at the 1-week mark post-surgery and heavy manual labour requiring around 3 weeks. 

To support the healing process, running and jumping activities are advised against for 10-12 weeks. However, many patients find themselves ready to resume sporting activities shortly thereafter.

Encouragingly, full weight-bearing on the affected hip is actively promoted as part of the recovery process, facilitated by the use of crutches for additional support. This approach aids in gradually restoring strength and function to the hip joint while minimising the risk of complications. 

The integration of physiotherapy, controlled weight-bearing, and progressive activity modifications collectively contribute to a successful rehabilitation journey, ensuring patients regain optimal mobility and function in a structured and safe manner after hip arthroscopy.

Downloadable info sheets related to Hip Arthroscopy

These notes from OrthoSport Victoria are for educational purposes only and are not to be used as medical advice. Please seek the advice of your specific surgeon or other health care provider with any questions regarding medical conditions and treatment.
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