Hip Arthroscopic (Key-hole) Surgery and Recovery

A Hip Arthroscopic Surgery is a procedure to treat Femoral-Acetabular Impingement (FAI). This is a condition where patients experience pain of the hip when doing activities such as bending over to reach their shoes, getting in or out of the car, and running. The bones on both sides of the hip joint impinge against each other and cause pain, labrum tears, and para-labral cysts. It is known nowadays that FAI is a precursor of hip arthritis.

A hip scope is also used to repair labrum tears, which typically occur in young athletic adults.

In cases where pain persists despite a trial of physiotherapy or activity modification for about 2 to 3 months, a hip scope is the most effective way to treat the problem and prevent further deterioration.

How is a hip scope performed?

The patient will be under general anaesthesia. Using a specialised leg holder, the operated leg will be put under constant tension in order to open up the hip joint. This will allow the camera and instruments to be placed into the hip joint safely. The specialised instruments will allow us to remove bone spurs and repair the labrum. Being a Minimally Invasive procedure, there will only be two to three 1cm cuts around the hip.

Hip Scope Surgery

On the day of surgery, you will admit to the designated hospital at least 2 hours before the surgery time. The actual surgery takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, but patients will be in the Operating Theatre for 3 to 4 hours. This is due to the pre-op preparation and post-op monitoring.

On the same day after surgery, you may be able to start walking with support from crutches. The next day, physiotherapy can commence and you will be taught hip strengthening exercises. Most patients stay just one night in hospital.

Recovery after Hip Scope Surgery

You may be using the crutches for about 2 weeks to support your walking. Thereafter, you should be able to manage walking slowly. You should be walking smoothly about 4 to 5 weeks after surgery. You may be able to resume running about 6 to 8 weeks after surgery.

Time away from work is variable and depends on each patient’s work requirement. In our experience, it may range from 2 weeks to 6 weeks.

After surgery, the hip will have a waterproof bandage on it. You will be able to shower over the bandages. We use absorbable stitches so they do not have to be cut. If you have stairs at home, you should minimise going up and down the stairs for two weeks, and have someone to assist you if you need to do so.

Return to driving

Return to driving may be immediate if your operated hip is on the left and you drive an automatic car. Otherwise, we’d recommend you rest 3 weeks before resuming driving.

A Hip Scope operation by Dr Ang CL. The television screen shows the view inside the hip joint.