Hip Arthroscopy Surgical Procedure

The following is what can be expected during hip arthroscopy surgery:

The patient will be admitted into hospital for a day or overnight.

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia.

At the start of the procedure the leg will be put in traction. The hip will be pulled away from the socket enough for the entire joint to be visible and for instruments to be inserted. 

A small puncture (about the size of a button hole) will be made for the arthroscope through which the inside of the hip and its damage can be identified. 

X-ray control using an image intensifier is used to gain access to the joint.

Two or three small incisions (portals) are made just above the bony prominence of the hip. Instruments are then inserted, first to visualise and treat any spurs on the femoral neck or acetabulum, then traction is applied and the instruments gain access to the hip joint to treat any pathology intra-articulary on the hip. These instruments can also smooth off rough surfaces, remove loose pieces of cartilage and excise bony osteophytes that may be causing a problem.

Sufficient traction is applied to open the joint by 7-8mm. 

Following the procedure local anesthetic is injected into the hip and wound.

However, depending on the approach taken the above overview will vary.



As with any operation complications are possible but unlikely. Possible complications following hip arthroscopy can include:

  • Permanent damage to the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve may occur in around 2% of patients
  • Inadvertent chondral damage
  • Infection in the skin or deep in the hip which occurs in less than 1% of patients
  • Vascular injury; resulting in excess bleeding
  • Nerve injury – the pudendal nerve may be damaged by the traction post. This is usually temporary and rarely permanent
  • Ongoing pain: especially if there is significant arthritis