In hip arthroscopy, a surgeon accesses the hip joint through very small incisions, minimizing damage to nearby muscle and other soft tissue. Hip arthroscopy is almost always an outpatient procedure, meaning you can expect to return home on the day of surgery. Our doctors use this minimally invasive technique to repair a torn labrum whenever possible. Most people in good health are candidates for arthroscopic surgery.
To perform arthroscopy in the hip, a surgeon makes several small incisions in the skin above the hip. He or she then inserts a pencil-sized instrument called an arthroscope into one of these incisions to position it in the joint. The arthroscope has a light and a camera lens at its tip. Live images of the inside of the hip are broadcast on a monitor, allowing the doctor to accurately navigate the joint.
After the arthroscope is positioned correctly, the surgeon uses instruments that are inserted through a second small incision to reattach the torn labrum to the acetabulum, the bowl-shaped socket in the pelvis. He or she accomplishes this by implanting small plastic or metal “anchors” into the rim of the joint socket. Sterile thread is looped through these anchors and around the labrum, securing the labrum firmly in the correct position. The repaired labrum restores the seal around the hip joint, improving joint function.
NYU Langone surgeons may also reshape the bones of the joint during arthroscopy, using a small metal tool to shave down any bone growths or irregularities. This may be necessary, for instance, if the labral tear is caused by unusual contact with the bones of the joint, a condition called hip impingement syndrome. After the procedure is complete, the incisions are closed with dissolvable stitches.
What to Expect After Surgery
Arthroscopic surgery is almost always an outpatient procedure, and you can expect to go home within hours of surgery. Most people are able to walk with crutches almost immediately after the procedure. Our pain management specialists ensure you have the medication you need to remain comfortable during recovery.
Doctors recommend using crutches for two to three weeks, and your surgeon schedules a follow-up appointment for two weeks after surgery to remove stitches and confirm that the incision wounds are healing normally. Your surgeon also examines your hip and asks you to rotate your leg gently in different directions to assess its range of motion after surgery.
Our doctors recommend starting physical therapy in the days after surgery. Physical therapy helps you to rebuild muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the hip.