Hip arthroscopy is a popular form of 'keyhole' surgery – so called because it is carried out through a very small incision using special instruments.
This makes it less invasive than traditional, 'open' surgery and means you will usually recover more quickly afterwards. It can be used as a diagnostic tool and to treat minor damage in the joint.
You may benefit from this procedure if you have persistent pain, swelling and stiffness in your hip that physiotherapy has not resolved or where scans have been unable to identify a specific problem. You might be experiencing groin pain on rotation of the hip and exercise might be limited as a result. You might have been diagnosed as having recurrent groin strains.
Hip problems become more common as we get older but can also often be caused by sporting injuries in younger people. Arthroscopy can be used in a number of ways, including:
As the equipment needed for this operation is so small, only minor cuts are made to the skin and the healing time is usually much quicker than it would be for a traditional operation. This means:
While the NHS offers excellent care in this area you may find it hard to see a consultant quickly unless your symptoms are very severe. If you have private medical insurance or are willing to pay for the operation yourself, we can help. You may be referred to one of our respected surgeons via your own GP. We can aim for you to see our specialist orthopaedic consultants within a few days of your referral to us.
If you decide to have your procedure with us, you will be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.
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Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having surgery can be a time of worry and anxiety. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.
This operation usually takes one to two hours and you will probably be put under a general anaesthetic, which means you'll be asleep throughout the procedure. Sometimes a local anaesthetic is given, which means you'll be awake but you won't feel any pain.
The doctor will make a series of small incisions around your hip and insert a tube-like telescope, called an arthroscope, into the joint. This is about the same thickness as a straw and has a camera on its tip. It is used to assess damage before other specialised instruments are inserted to repair any injuries to bones and soft tissues.
Sometimes all that is needed is a 'clean up', where loose bone or cartilage are removed from the joint. In other cases, muscles, ligaments and tendons may need to be stitched together if they've been torn or damaged.
You may be able to return home the same day but if you went under a general anaesthetic you will be taken from the operating theatre to a recovery room, where you will come round from the anaesthesia under close supervision.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
While you are in hospital a physiotherapist will see you with exercises that will help speed up your recovery.
Your hip will be sore after the operation and you may have some temporary stiffness, swelling and bruising. We will give you pain relief medication while you’re with us and to take home with you. Typically if you need pain relief over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, will help.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
You will be advised on the steps you should take to speed up your recovery before you leave the hospital and you will probably be given a series of exercises to do every day.
You should arrange to take at least a week off work. The time it takes to fully recover will depend on the extent of your injuries, your level of physical fitness before the operation and how well you follow the advice of your physiotherapist.
It’s often possible to get back to light physical activities within two or three weeks but you won’t be able to do any serious sporting activity or heavy lifting for several months. We’ll give you crutches to take home and these will help you get mobile more quickly.
Once you’re ready to be discharged, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home because you won’t be able to drive. You should also ask them to help with shopping and cleaning for a few weeks.
We’re with you every step of the way through your recovery, even after you’ve left hospital.
After your operation we will provide you with all the appropriate medication, physiotherapy exercises, advice on what you should and shouldn't do, and any other follow-up support you need. Typically your consultant will want to see you after your treatment to see how you’re doing, a follow up appointment will be made for you before you leave the hospital. You might also be seen by a physiotherapist.
On rare occasions, complications following surgery can occur. The chance of complications depends on the exact type of procedure you are having and other factors such as your general health.
We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns we’re ready to help.
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The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
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