What is hip arthroscopic surgery?

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Hip arthroscopic surgery: Overview

Arthroscopy is a way to find problems and do surgery inside a joint without making a large cut (incision). Your doctor puts a lighted tube with a tiny camera and surgical tools through small incisions in the side of your hip. The camera is called an arthroscope, or scope.

In this surgery, your doctor may:

  • Remove or repair a torn piece of cartilage or labrum. (The labrum is the cartilage ring around the rim of the hip socket.)
  • Remove inflamed tissue.
  • Smooth the rough surfaces of your joint.
  • Remove bone spurs that affect the joint.

Most people go home on the day of the surgery.

If you have a simple injury, it may take at least 6 weeks to recover. It may take longer if your doctor had to repair damaged tissue or remove bone spurs.

If you have a desk job, you may be able to go back to work a few days after treatment of a simple injury. If you do physical labor, it may be as long as 2 months before you can go back to work.

You will need to limit activity while your hip heals. You may need crutches or a walker for the first few days, if not weeks. You may need to have physical therapy (rehab) to help your hip get stronger.

After surgery and rehab, you should have less pain. Your hip should be stronger. You should be able to use your hip and leg better. Some people have to avoid lifting heavy objects. Talk to your doctor if you plan to start doing activities such as running.

How can you care for yourself after hip arthroscopic surgery?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired.
  • Your doctor will tell you how often and how much you can move your hip and when and how much you can walk. You may have a walker or crutches.
  • Your doctor may give you specific instructions on when you can do your normal activities again, such as driving and going back to work.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for lifting things or using your hip.

Diet

  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • If your bowel movements are not regular right after surgery, try to avoid constipation and straining. Drink plenty of water. Your doctor may suggest fiber, a stool softener, or a mild laxative.

Medicines

  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. You will also get instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you stopped taking aspirin or some other blood thinner, your doctor will tell you when to start taking it again.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

Incision care

  • You may have dressings over one or more incisions. A dressing helps an incision heal and protects it. Your doctor will tell you how to take care of this.
  • If your incisions are open to the air, keep the area clean and dry.
  • If you have strips of tape on the incisions, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
  • You may shower 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Pat the incisions dry. Don't swim or take a bath for the first 2 weeks, or until your doctor tells you it is okay.

Exercise

  • Hip rehabilitation is a series of exercises you do after your surgery. This helps you get back your hip's range of motion and strength. You will work with your doctor and physical therapist to plan this exercise program. To get the best results, you need to do the exercises correctly and as often and as long as your doctor tells you.
  • Stop any activity that causes sharp pain. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about what sports or other exercise you can do.

Ice

  • Put ice or a cold pack on your hip area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.) If your doctor recommended cold therapy using a portable machine, follow the directions that came with the machine.

How do you prepare for hip arthroscopy surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • You may need to shower or bathe with a special soap the night before and the morning of your surgery. The soap contains chlorhexidine. It reduces the amount of bacteria on your skin that could cause an infection after surgery.
  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don’t have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It’s a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

After hip arthroscopy: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your foot or toes.
  • Your foot turns cold or changes color.
  • You have signs of a blood clot, such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin.
  • You are sick to your stomach or cannot keep fluids down.
  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You have loose stitches, or your incision comes open.
  • The incision starts to bleed, and blood soaks through the bandage. Oozing small amounts of blood is normal.
  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incisions.
    • Pus draining from the incisions.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not have a bowel movement after taking a laxative.

After hip arthroscopic surgery: Overview

Arthroscopy is a way to find problems and do surgery inside a joint without making a large cut (incision). Your doctor put a lighted tube with a tiny camera—called an arthroscope, or scope—and surgical tools through small incisions on the side of your hip.

You will feel tired for several days. Your hip will be swollen. And you may notice that your skin is a different color near the incisions. The swelling is normal. It will start to go away in a few days.

You will probably need about 6 weeks to recover. If your doctor repaired damaged tissue, recovery will take longer. You may have to limit your activity until your hip strength and movement are back to normal. You may also be in a physical rehabilitation (rehab) program.

You may be able to return to a desk job or your normal routine in a few days. But if you do physical labor, it may be as long as 2 months before you can go back to work.

What happens on the day of your hip arthroscopic surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery center

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You may be asleep or have medicine to relax you. And the area will be numbed if you're awake. It's often numbed even if you are asleep.
  • The surgery will take about 1 to 2 hours.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.