Hip Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure for looking into a joint. The hip is the large joint between the large bone in your thigh (femur) and the pelvis. Your caregiver can make a more accurate diagnosis with your hip by performing an arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is a surgical technique which uses small incisions (cuts by the surgeon) to insert a small telescope like instrument (arthroscope) and other tools into the hip joint. This allows the surgeon to look directly at and treat the problem. This is usually a very safe surgery. Possible complications include damage to nerves or blood vessels, excess bleeding, blood clots, the possibility of infection, and rarely, instrument failure. This is most often performed as a same day surgery. This means you will not have to stay in the hospital overnight. Recovery from this surgery is much faster than having an open (large incision) procedure.


  • Allergies.

  • Medicine taken including herbs, eye drops, over the counter medicine, and creams.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or novocaine.

  • Family history of anesthetic problems.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.

  • History of blood clots (thrombophlebitis).

  • History of bleeding or blood problems.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Other health problems.


  • Stop all anti-inflammatory medicine (ibuprofen, for example) at least one week prior to surgery unless instructed otherwise. Make sure to let your surgeon know if you have been taking cortisone.

  • Do not eat or drink after midnight, or as instructed. Take medicine as your caregiver instructs. You may have lab tests the morning of surgery.

  • You should be present 60 minutes prior to your procedure or as directed.


You may have a general anesthetic to make you sleep during the procedure, or a local anesthetic in which just the hip is numb. Your surgeon, anesthesiologist, or anesthetist will discuss this with you.


  • After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery area where a nurse will watch and check your progress. Once you are awake, stable, and taking fluids well, barring other problems, you will be allowed to go home.

  • Once home, an ice pack applied to your operative site for twenty minutes, three to four times per day, for two to three days, may help with discomfort and keep the swelling down.

  • Use medicine as prescribed.

  • Use your crutches as directed.

  • You may be able to bear weight as soon as you are comfortable.


How long you will be away from your normal activities after arthroscopy will depend on what kind of hip problem you have, how it has been fixed surgically, and the condition of your hip before the procedure. Rebuilding your muscles after arthroscopy helps recovery. Following your caregiver's instructions closely will help you recover rapidly and completely. Use crutches, rest, elevate, ice, and do hip exercises as instructed. The length of recovery depends on various factors. These factors include type of problem or injury, age, physical condition, medical conditions, and your determination.


  • Your hip may be stiff and painful following surgery. If physical therapy and exercises are prescribed by your surgeon, follow them carefully.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.


  • You notice redness, swelling, or increasing pain or warmth in the wound or joint.

  • There is pus (purulent drainage) coming from wound.

  • An unexplained oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C) develops.

  • A foul smell is coming from the wound or dressing.

  • There is a breaking open of the wound (edges not staying together) after sutures or tape have been removed.

  • You develop progressive leg numbness.


  • You develop a rash.

  • You have difficulty breathing.

  • You have any allergic problems.