Hip arthroscopy | BMIHealthcare UK
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Hip Arthroscopy

What is hip arthroscopy?

A hip arthroscopy (also called keyhole surgery) allows your surgeon to see inside your hip using a camera inserted through small cuts in the skin. They should be able to treat some problems using special surgical instruments.

What are the benefits of hip arthroscopy surgery?

The main benefit of hip arthroscopy surgery is to confirm exactly what the problem is and in many cases to treat the problem at the same time.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Problems inside a joint can often be diagnosed using special tests such as CT and MRI scans. However, you may then need an hip arthroscopy to treat the problem.

What does the operation involve?

Hip arthroscopy is performed under a general anaesthetic. The patient's leg is strapped into a traction table that gives distraction of the hip joint, pulling the joint open in order to allow the passage of the arthroscope (a small rigid telescope with a digital camera on the end) into the space between the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) of the joint. Small probes and other specialised instruments that can be introduced into the hip joint to allow a wide variety of different surgical procedures to be performed.

Your surgeon will usually make about two to four small cuts around the joint. They will place a small telescope through one of the cuts so they can examine the joint. They will place surgical instruments through the other cuts if they need to treat any problems with the joint (see figure 1).

 Hip arthroscopy from BMI Healthcare

What will happen during my hip arthroscopy?

When you meet with your consultant surgeon they'll ensure that you have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about your hip arthroscopy, they'll discuss with you what'll happen before, during and after the procedure and any pain you might have. Take this time with your consultant surgeon to ensure your mind is put at rest. We know that having an operation of any type can be stressful so we've created a short downloadable guide that you might find useful to print off and use to write down any questions you may have. Do take this with you to your consultation.

Asking the right questions during your consultant visit at BMI Healthcare


What complications can happen?

1 General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection in the surgical wound
  • Unsightly scarring

2 Specific complications of this operation

  • Bleeding into the joint
  • Infection in the joint
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the arm and hand (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)
  • Damage to nerves
  • Damage to tendons

How soon will I recover?

Patients are kept in hospital overnight, after hip arthroscopy surgery, but are normally able to go home the following day.

Your physiotherapist may give you exercises and advice to help you to recover from the operation. It can take a few weeks to get back to normal activities.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people who have treatment have a major improvement. However, it does take time for pain to lessen and movement to increase. Symptoms often come back with time.


A hip arthroscopy allows your surgeon to diagnose and treat problems affecting the joint, without the need for a large cut in the skin. This may reduce the amount of pain you feel and speed up your recovery after surgery.

Paying for your operation

Arthroscopy of the hip costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

What other kinds of hip operations, treatments and procedures do BMI Healthcare carry out?

  • Total hip replacement surgery. Hip replacement surgery is one of the most succesful orthopaedic operations carried out in this area of medicine...
  • Hip debridement, this is where there may be an abnormality of the hip joint through excessive bone or abnormal tissue...
  • Hip injection treatmentmay use either local anaesthesia or a combination of local anaesthesia and steroid, enabling a potential diagnosis as well as therapeutic treatment...
  • Hip resurfacing is a bone-conserving alternative to total hip replacement for young and active patients...
  • A hip revision, or total hip replacement is an operation to take out your old hip replacement and put in a new one...
  • Total hip replacement by computer assisted navigation, Computer assisted navigation is a recent and most significant development in joint replacement and orthopaedic surgery of the 21st Century...

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