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Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine
Hip Arthroscopy 101
February 23, 2018 | by Parth Lodhia

You have been struggling with hip pain, been through the proper assessments and treatment, and have been referred for surgery. Your surgeon has recommended hip arthroscopy as a less-invasive option.

If this is you, or you are interested in learning more about this surgical intervention, here is a short summary to provide you with more information.


Hip arthroscopy is a surgery performed on the hip joint using a camera (called an arthroscope) about the size of a pen and small incisions on the side of the hip.

The camera helps visualize the structures inside the joint, including the acetabular labrum (ring around the socket), articular cartilage (lining the joint), and any bony prominences.

Small instruments are used to repair injured cartilage and labrum, as well as remove excess bone from the socket and/or the femoral head. The procedure is usually performed as an outpatient, allowing the patient to go home the same day.


Hip conditions can cause a patient pain in a variety of ways and hence the diagnosis of a hip joint problem is paramount. Patients may feel hip pain in the groin, side, or back of the hip and this can happen at any age.  Some conditions that cause hip joint related pain are femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), hip dysplasia, acetabular labral tears, trauma, and degenerative/arthritis-related changes to the hip joint.

While multiple hip injuries and conditions can be treated with hip arthroscopy, non-surgical management should be undertaken first before embarking on a discussion about surgery.

These measures include activity modification, physiotherapy, anti-inflammatories, massage, chiropractic treatment, and in certain situations, injections. Recent studies have shown that hip arthroscopy is not as successful in hip joints that have already begun to show signs of arthritis, compared to those that show no such signs.


If a patient has hip pain, he/she can be referred to a Fortius Sport Medicine Physician for a musculoskeletal evaluation. Physician’s may refer the patient for radiology tests like xrays, and in some instances, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with dye injected in the joint (arthrogram). It is important to understand that each patient can have a unique reason for hip pain and the cause of the pain should be determined.

Muscular pain can generally be managed with rest and symptomatic treatment including icing, compression, and over the counter anti-inflammatories, followed by rehabilitation and gradual return to activities as tolerated. Fortius has a team of physiotherapists, massage therapists and chiropractors who can provide additional support at this stage of the treatment plan.

If the pain does not improve with conservative measures, the patient may be referred to a Fortius orthopaedic surgeon specialized in hip arthroscopy and preservation surgery for an evaluation. As part of this evaluation, the patient may be subjected to further tests, including a diagnostic hip joint injection with local anesthetic. The idea behind this is to ascertain the joint as being the cause of the pain so as to refine indications for surgery.

Visit our website to learn more about our Sport Medicine services and our Physician team. Appointments with Fortius sports physicians require a referral from a family doctor (or other referring doctor). Fees for most services are covered under the Medical Services Plan (MSP).​