HIP Arthroscopy

Initial Consultation
  • Follow up Consultation £150

HIP Arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy is a relatively new procedure which allows the surgeon to diagnose and treat hip disorders by providing a clear view of the inside of the hip with very small incisions.

This is a more complicated and technically difficult procedure than keyhole surgery of other joints such as the knee. The surgery has to be performed under a general anaesthetic and is performed on a special hip table.

Hip arthroscopy is useful for treating various conditions. These can include: Removing loose bodies, treating/repairing tears of the labrum or cartilage and removing impingement lesions. Typically patients complain of pain, a catching or popping sensation in the groin, or locking or giving way of the hip. Diagnosis is made by clinical examination, x-rays, CT scan and MRI scan.

The operation is usually performed as a day case or an overnight stay and the patient is mobilised on crutches, normally for two weeks following the procedure. Following physiotherapy rehabilitation a return to sport will take 3 to 6 months.

It is important that you understand what to expect and feel able to take an active role in your treatment. There will be many different health professionals involved in your care during your stay and there will be a clear plan for any after care when you are discharged from hospital. This leaflet will answer some of your questions but if there is anything you or your family are not sure about then please ask your nurse, doctor or therapist.

What is an arthroscopy?
Hip arthroscopy is performed under a general anaesthetic (you are asleep) using small cuts through which a camera (to see the joint) and instruments are passed. Using traction (a pulling force) to bring the hip slightly out of joint, your surgeon can get a good view of the hip and any areas that are causing your
symptoms. Then, using the appropriate instruments,
your surgeon can carry out the necessary

What happens during the operation?
The patient is positioned on a special traction table, with a well padded post pressing against the inside of the thigh (very close to the groin) – this is used to keep the thigh bones in a good position. The legs are held apart as shown on the diagram and traction is applied to each leg via the foot plates – i.e. the legs are stretched out. A special X-ray (image intensifier) is used to confirm that the joint is stretched open enough to allow the telescope to pass before starting the operation.

What are the benefits of an arthroscopy?
An arthroscopy is much less invasive than previous forms of hip surgery. This means that you have a shorter hospital stay and quicker healing than more traditional surgery. You will also be able to start your rehabilitation earlier. The hip arthroscopy will also aim to remove or reduce your symptoms, including instability and stiffness.

Hospital stay
Your operation will last approximately 2-3 hours. However, this will depend on the procedures that need to be completed. You will usually stay in hospital overnight following your procedure. However, this may vary depending on your medical history and also on how you are managing to mobilise with help from the physiotherapists.

What conditions can be treated with hip arthroscopy?

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI): This condition involves the head of the thigh bone (femur) and the rim of the socket (acetabulum). It is caused by bumps on the femoral head causing abnormal contact with the socket, which can lead to damage of the cartilage (labrum). This in turn can cause pain. An arthroscopy can be used to reshape the femoral head and socket to prevent this abnormal contact.

Labral tear: The hip socket has a rim of fibrous cartilage called the labrum. This can be damaged either through abnormal contact or other causes. Common symptoms of a labral tear include a locking or catching sensation in the hip as well as groin pain.

Loose bodies: These are pieces of cartilage that form within the joint. They look like small marbles floating around in the joint space. They can be caused as a result of trauma, sports injury or wear and tear.

Articular cartilage injury: Articular cartilage covers the joints surfaces of the head of the femur and inside the socket, allowing for smooth movement. Tears in this cartilage can happen from activities such as running or jumping or as a result of wear and tear.

Payment options

If you have private health insurance it is important to check how much your policy will pay, because some policies do not cover all the associated costs. This is due to the fact that many insurance companies have not increased their cover for surgical fees for over 15 years. This is despite inflation and the rapidly increasing costs of medical indemnity insurance.

For patients paying for their own treatment there is the option of fixed price surgery. This cost includes medical fees, hospital fees, drugs and surgical implants, physiotherapy in hospital, any medical treatment whilst in hospital, and for an extended stay for complications directly related to the procedure for 30 days following surgery.

For information regarding Fixed Price surgery, please call:

BMI The Winterbourne Hospital
01305 756625

BMI The Harbour Hospital
0800 142 2309

Nuffield Hospital, Bournemouth
0333 305 4798



Dorset County Hospital
Fracture Clinic Wednesday Afternoon
Elective Clinic Thursday Afternoon


The Winterbourne
Monday pm & Wednesday am

The Nuffield, Bournemouth
Monday am
The Harbour, Poole
Monday pm

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Simon Garrett | Hips & Knees Dorset