Hip Arthroscopy

Hip Arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an orthopedic surgeon uses a scope, or small high-definition camera, to see inside the hip joint and work in and around the hip joint to correct specific causes of chronic hip pain. 



For the most common form of hip problem, known as FAI or femoral acetabular impingement, arthroscopy reshapes abnormal bony structure in the hip joint to restore a proper fit between the ball and socket. It also repairs related structural damage.


Hip arthroscopy is a form of hip preservation surgery. Procedures are intended to fix underlying structural problems and restore optimal joint health and function.


Hip arthroscopy is performed under general or spinal anesthesia. Most patients go home the same day. Because the procedure is minimally invasive, patients can begin rehabilitation sooner. They often resume normal activity in three to six months depending on the type of surgery.


Hip arthroscopy procedures include, but are not limited to:

  • Removing abnormal bony impingement lesions
  • Removing loose matter in the hip joint
  • Debriding or repairing labral tears and/or cartilage damage
  • Repairing torn tendons
  • Cleaning out frayed lining and inflammation
  • Treating early stages of arthritis

Hip arthroscopy may slow the progression of degenerative arthritis. However, a hip arthroscopy does not fix arthritis or stop arthritis from developing later in life.


During hip arthroscopy, the scope is placed through two to three portals, or small cuts, in the skin. One portal is used for the scope. The other portals are used for small surgical tools and instruments. The scope allows the surgeon to see all structures within the hip joint. The same procedure also can be used to visualize the side of the hip and behind the hip.



Symptoms for hip arthroscopy

Any decision for surgery is based on the severity of symptoms and those symptoms’ effect on the patient’s quality of life. X-ray or MRI findings help measure the severity of symptoms.


  • Most common
    • Hip pain caused by FAI
    • Torn labrum or ligament
    • Loose bone or cartilage in hip joint
  • Other symptoms
    • Hip abductor tendon tears
    • Hip flexor tendon problems
    • Piriformis syndrome, or sciatic nerve entrapment
    • Problems related to hip dysplasia
  • Conditions for which hip arthroscopy is not recommended
    • Arthritis
    • Severe hip dysplasia
    • Pain from an uncertain source or a suspected non-structural source

Hip arthroscopy surgery information

FAI information for patients 

What to do before surgery 

Surgery information form 

What to do in first 2 days after surgery 

What to do as you recover from surgery 


Additional resources

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

American College of Sports Medicine

Orthoillustrated (Orthopaedic Surgery Patient Education)

Smith & Nephew (joint replacement products)



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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.