At the start of the procedure, your leg will be put in a traction device. This means that in a controlled fashion, your femoral head will be pulled away from the socket enough to allow the surgeon to insert instruments, see the entire joint, and perform the treatments needed.
After traction is applied, your surgeon will make a small puncture in your hip (about the length of a thumbnail or buttonhole) for the arthroscope. Through the arthroscope, they can view the inside of your hip and identify damage.
Your surgeon will insert other instruments through separate incisions to treat the problem. A range of procedures can be performed, depending on your needs. For example, your surgeon can:
- Smooth off torn cartilage (labral or articular) or repair the labrum
- Trim bone spurs from the femoral neck or acetabulum caused by FAI
- Remove inflamed synovial tissue
The length of the procedure will depend on what your surgeon finds and the amount of work to be done.
Complications from hip arthroscopy are uncommon. Any surgery in the hip joint carries a small risk of injury to the surrounding nerves or vessels, or the joint itself. The traction needed for the procedure can stretch nerves and cause numbness, but this is usually temporary. There are even more extremely rare case of fractures of the femoral neck secondary to removal of bone spurs.
There are also small risks of infection, as well as blood clots forming in the legs (deep vein thrombosis).