Hip Arthroscopy for Sports and Occupational Hip Injuries

Arthroscopy is the use of a miniature camera to look inside a joint. Once inside the joint, procedures can be performed in a minimally invasive fashion.  Historically, arthroscopy has been performed on mostly knees and shoulders.

However, now due to advancements in arthroscopic techniques, we can now treat injuries and pathologies of the hip with arthroscopy.

What Type of Hip Injuries Do We Treat with Arthroscopy?

With the use of hip arthroscopy, we can now treat injuries to structures inside the hip joint without the need to make a large incision. We can obtain a fantastic view of the cartilage, which is the smooth rubbery structure at the ends of our bone which let our joints move smoothly.

Arthroscopy also allows us to treat problems with the cartilage; we can remove loose or frayed areas of cartilage the maybe the cause of one’s hip pain with a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

The most common structure in the hip that is repaired using hip arthroscopy is the hip labrum. It’s also one of the four most common hip injuries that I treat.

This area of the hip is commonly injured in athletes who perform repetitive rotations around there hip. If you follow baseball you know that Alex Rodriguez had a labrum tear in his hip that required a hip arthroscopy.  

The hip labrum is a rim of cartilage which surrounds the socket part of the hip joint. Using 2 or 3 small incisions and the hip arthroscope, the labrum can be repaired.

Around the time of A-Rod’s injury, hip arthroscopy was called the newest surgery in sports, and called “hip scope,” for short.

A 2011 American Journal of Sports Medicine study found the following success rates for, “High-level athletes who underwent arthroscopic treatment of [hip] impingement (rim trimming, labral refixation or debridement, femoral osteochondroplasty):”

  • 78% of athletes were able to return to play by one year
  • 73% of athletes were able to play at a two-year follow-up

The conclusion of the study was that, “Arthroscopic treatment of femoroacetabular impingement in a mixed group of high-level athletes may result in a significant improvement in hip functional outcome.”

How Long Are You in the Hospital For a Hip Arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is an outpatient surgery. You walk in and out of the hospital on the same day!

Sometimes you need to leave on crutches or a specialized brace.  Compared to most arthroscopic surgeries, patients have less pain with a hip arthroscopy then a shoulder or knee surgery. Patients are sent home with medication for pain.

What is the recovery Time After Hip Arthroscopy?

Many of my patients are athletes and need to know when they can return to playing sports. Most athletes are back to sport before 4 months post-op.

For patients who need to return to work, usually they are able to go back to work within 1-2 weeks for a desk type job.

For people who have very physically demanding jobs, especially job requiring squatting, recovery can be longer.

Hip arthroscopy is a great tool. It can treat many different hip injuries with minimal invasion and fast recovery. If you have been suffering with hip pain, you should seek orthopedic consultation. I am always available to see new patients.

If you’ve suffered a hip injury, call Westchester Sport and Spine at 914-358-9700 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Michael Gott is a Westchester orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in sports medicine. He has also been an active member of the National Ski Patrol as well as a Member of the Windham Mountain Ski Patrol for 18 years.