Hip Arthroscopy Specialist

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat a variety of hip joint problems, such as tears of the labrum, loose bodies, or hip impingement. This technique involves inserting a small camera, called an arthroscope, into the hip joint to guide the surgeon in repairing or removing damaged tissue.

  • Are your symptoms affecting your quality of life? Consult our MOH-accredited hip arthroscopy specialist for a comprehensive diagnosis of your condition & a personalised treatment plan.
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Dr Poh Seng Yew

MBBS

MRCSEd

MMED (Ortho)

FRCSEd

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What is Hip Arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is a surgical technique designed to address and treat hip problems in a minimally invasive way. This procedure involves the use of an arthroscope, a slender camera, which allows the hip surgeon to view the hip joint without necessitating large incisions through the skin and soft tissues. The arthroscope’s imagery is displayed on a video monitor, guiding the hip surgeon in manoeuvring miniature surgical instruments within the joint.

Reasons for Hip Arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy is considered when non-surgical treatments, such as rest, physical therapy, medications, and injections, fail to alleviate hip-related conditions. The procedure is particularly beneficial for addressing issues that damage the labrum, articular cartilage, and other soft tissues surrounding the joint. Some common reasons for undergoing hip arthroscopy include:

  • Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
    This disorder involves bone overgrowth either along the acetabulum or on the femoral head. This can damage the soft tissues of the hip during movement. Hip arthroscopy helps in trimming the overgrown bone and repairing any associated tissue damage.
  • Dysplasia
    Characterised by an abnormally shallow hip socket, dysplasia places increased stress on the labrum. This condition often leads to tearing of the labrum, which can be addressed through hip arthroscopy.
  • Snapping Hip Syndromes
    This condition involves snapping or popping around the hip due to muscle tendons rubbing against bone during movement, causing pain and inflammation. Arthroscopy can be used to alleviate these symptoms.
  • Synovitis
    Inflammation of the tissues surrounding the joint, known as synovitis, can be effectively treated through hip arthroscopy.
  • Loose Bodies
    The presence of loose fragments of bone or cartilage within the joint can be resolved using arthroscopic techniques.
  • Hip Joint Infection
    Arthroscopy can help treat infections that occur in the hip joint.

Planning for Hip Arthroscopy

Effective planning leads to successful hip arthroscopy. This involves several preparatory steps to ensure patient safety and optimal surgical outcomes.


  • Health Assessment: This assessment is conducted by the hip surgeon to identify any potential health risks that might interfere with the surgery.
  • Medication Review: Patients need to inform their hip surgeon about all medications and supplements they are taking. Some of these may need to be temporarily stopped before the surgery to reduce risks such as excessive bleeding.
  • Anaesthesia Plan: The surgery is commonly performed under general anaesthesia, though regional anaesthesia, such as spinal or epidural, may also be used. The choice of anaesthesia is determined after a discussion between the patient and the hip surgeon.
  • Pre-operative Planning: These include guidelines on when to arrive for the surgery and directives on fasting before the procedure.

Surgical Procedure

The surgical procedure of hip arthroscopy involves several key steps:

1. Positioning and Traction
Initially, the patient’s leg is placed in traction, meaning the hip is gently pulled away from the socket. This allows the hip surgeon to insert instruments and view the entire joint.

2. Incision and Arthroscope Insertion
The hip surgeon makes a small keyhole incision, or portal, in the skin to insert the arthroscope into the hip. Sterile fluid is pumped into the joint to inflate it for better visualisation.

3. Joint Evaluation
Images from the arthroscope, displayed on a video monitor, assist the hip surgeon in evaluating the joint and identifying any damage.

4. Treatment Procedures
Depending on the diagnosis, the hip surgeon may perform a variety of procedures, such as repairing the torn labrum, trimming damaged cartilage, reshaping bone structures for better fit, and removing inflamed tissues. This is done using specialised instruments inserted through separate keyhole incisions.

5. Instrumentation and Techniques
Hip surgeons use specialised instruments for tasks like shaving, cutting, grasping, burring, and suture passing. In some cases, implants (such as suture anchors) or grafts may be used.

6. Closure
After the procedure, incisions are typically stitched or covered with skin tapes, followed by an absorbent dressing.

The length of the procedure varies depending on the extent of the damage and the number of issues addressed.

Benefits of Hip Arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy offers several advantages, particularly when compared to traditional open surgery.

Minimally Invasive Technique

The use of small incisions results in less disruption to the surrounding tissues. This minimally invasive approach typically leads to reduced postoperative pain and joint stiffness. Smaller incisions also mean less noticeable scars post-surgery.

Shorter Recovery Time

Patients often experience a quicker recovery period, facilitating a faster return to daily activities and work.

Less Pain and Joint Stiffness

Smaller incisions and less tissue trauma contribute to decreased pain and improved joint mobility post-surgery.

Enhanced Accuracy and Targeted Treatment

The arthroscope provides high-definition, magnified views of the joint structures, allowing for precise diagnosis and treatment. The hip surgeon can directly address specific problems within the hip joint, such as labral tears, cartilage damage, or removal of loose bodies, with enhanced accuracy.

Schedule An Appointment With Us

Are Your Symptoms Affecting Your Quality Of Life?

Consult our MOH-accredited hip arthroscopy specialist for a comprehensive diagnosis of your condition & a personalised treatment plan.

Possible Complications of Hip Arthroscopy

While hip arthroscopy is generally considered safe, like any surgical procedure, it does carry some risks and potential complications.

  • Nerve Injury: The procedure carries a small risk of injury to the surrounding nerves. This might result in numbness or tingling, but such effects are typically temporary.
  • Blood Vessel Damage: Although rare, there is a risk of injury to the blood vessels around the hip joint.
  • Joint Injury: The hip joint itself may be at risk of injury during the procedure.
  • Infection: As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection at the incision site or within the joint.
  • Blood Clots: The formation of blood clots in the veins, known as deep vein thrombosis, is a potential risk.
  • Numbness from Traction: The traction used during the surgery can stretch nerves, occasionally causing temporary numbness in the groin area.
  • Fracture and Post-Surgery Complications: Although very uncommon, there is a risk of fracture during the procedure. Post-surgery complications can include persistent pain or stiffness in the hip.

While these complications may occur, the procedure generally carries a lower risk of infections and other issues compared to open surgeries.

Recovery and Outlook

While hip arthroscopy is often an outpatient procedure, requiring no overnight hospital stay, some cases might necessitate a short hospital stay, especially if the patient has certain health conditions.

The recovery process following hip arthroscopy involves several aspects:


  • Pain Management: Postoperative pain is a normal aspect of the healing process. Patients are typically prescribed medications for short-term pain relief, which may include paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and, in some cases, opioids.
  • Avoiding Surgical Complications: The hip surgeon may prescribe aspirin or other blood thinning medication to reduce the risk of blood clots.
  • Restoring Strength and Mobility: Rehabilitation includes specific exercises aimed at restoring strength and mobility. The plan is tailored to the individual’s needs and the nature of the surgery performed. To support walking, some patients may need to use crutches until they stop limping. The duration can vary from a few days to one or two months, especially in cases where extensive repair is necessary.
  • Taking Care of the Surgical Site: Keep the dressings clean and dry to prevent infection and promote proper healing of the incision sites.
  • Gradual Resumption of Activities: Patients should resume their normal activities gradually, following the guidance of the hip surgeon.

The long-term outlook after hip arthroscopy is generally positive, with many patients returning to full, unrestricted activities. The specific recovery time and outcome depend on the type of hip damage treated and the patient’s overall health.

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Dr Poh Seng Yew

MBBS

MRCSEd

MMED (Ortho)

FRCSEd

With over 18 years of experience, Dr Poh Seng Yew is an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hip, knee, shoulder and elbow surgery, sports medicine, and trauma surgery.

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), National University of Singapore
  • Member, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCSEd)
  • Master of Medicine (Orthopaedic Surgery), National University of Singapore
  • Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, FRCSEd (Orthopaedic Surgery)
  • Clinical Hip and Sports Medicine Fellow, Orthopädische Chirurgie München (OCM), Germany

 

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Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-62/63
Singapore 329563
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Weekdays: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Saturdays: 9.00am – 1.00pm
Sundays and Public Holidays: Closed

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    Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
    38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-62/63
    Singapore 329563

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    How Long Does Pain from Hip Arthroscopy Last?

    The duration of pain following hip arthroscopy varies but is generally temporary. Most patients experience pain reduction within a few weeks. Persistent or severe pain should be discussed with our hip surgeon for tailored management.

    Why Is My Hip Popping After Hip Arthroscopy?

    Hip popping can occur post-arthroscopy as the joint adjusts to the changes made during the procedure. If the popping is painless, it’s often a normal part of the healing process. Any painful or persistent popping should be evaluated by our hip surgeon to ensure optimal recovery.

    What Is the Fastest Way to Recover from a Hip Arthroscopy?

    Adherence to the prescribed rehabilitation plan can help lead to a swift recovery. Following your hip surgeon’s guidance on activity levels and using medication as directed can also speed up the recovery process.

    How Long Does It Take for Arthroscopic Incisions to Heal?

    Arthroscopic incisions typically heal within a few weeks. Follow post-operative care instructions, such as keeping the area clean and dry, to promote healing. Any concerns about healing can be addressed with our hip surgeon.