Diagnostic Hip Arthroscopy

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Hip arthroscopy is a surgical procedure performed through very small incisions to diagnose and treat various hip conditions including the removal of torn cartilage or bone chips that cause hip pain and immobility.


What Happens During a Hip Arthroscopy


A small, flexible tube with a camera attached, called an arthroscope, is inserted into the hip joint. Two or three small incisions are typically made to allow the scope and other surgical instruments to enter a narrow space between the ball and socket of the hip joint. A monitor attached to the camera enables the surgeon to see inside the hip joint to diagnose and even treat certain hip joint problems.


Video: Hip Arthoscopy


UW Health hip preservation surgeon Andrea Spiker, MD, explains the benefits of hip arthoscopy.




This minimally invasive procedure has advantages over traditional open surgery because it causes very little trauma to the hip joint, is generally done on an outpatient basis where patients return home after the procedure, and typically has a short recovery period.


Typically, the surgeon will examine the condition of the articular cartilage covering the head of the hip ball socket (femoral head) and inside the socket (acetabulum). This cartilage allows the bone surfaces to slide against each other smoothly. The condition of ligaments attaching the bones to each other and the firm ring of cartilage surrounding the socket, called the labrum, will be examined for tears. The space within the joint will be examined for loose bodies of cartilage material and signs of inflammation or degenerative conditions. Removing loose fragments of cartilage, diseased or inflamed joint lining, or painful bone spurs from the hip joint, and repairing or trimming a torn labrum are among the most common hip arthroscopy treatments.


Video Illustration of a Hip Arthroscopy