HealthWACH: Hip, hip, hooray


Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that gives doctors a clear view of the inside of a joint. This helps them diagnose and treat joint problems. During hip arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into the hip joint. The camera displays pictures on a television screen, and the surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments.

A doctor may recommend hip arthroscopy if a patient has a painful condition that does not respond to nonsurgical treatment. Hip arthroscopy may relieve painful symptoms of many problems that damage the labrum, articular cartilage, or other soft tissues surrounding the joint.

Complications from hip arthroscopy are uncommon. Any surgery in the hip joint carries a small risk of injury to the surrounding nerves or vessels, or the joint itself. The traction needed for the procedure can stretch nerves and cause numbness, but this is usually temporary. There are also small risks of infection, as well as blood clots forming in the legs.

After surgery, patients typically stay in the recovery room for 1 to 2 hours before being discharged. The patient can also expect to be on crutches, or a walker, for some period of time.