Hip Arthroscopy: Surgery & Recovery

What is Hip Arthroscopy?

Hip arthroscopy is a surgical procedure recommended for patients whose hip pain and function do not resolve with nonsurgical treatment, such as rest, medication and physical therapy. It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to treat a variety of hip injuries and conditions, including labral tears, hip impingement, synovitis, bursitis, and snapping hip syndrome. Because hip arthroscopy is less invasive than open surgery, recovery time is quicker.

At Seaview Orthopaedics, Dr. Kenneth Chern offers hip arthroscopy to treat a number of hip injuries and conditions. Dr. Chern received fellowship training under Dr. J. W. Thomas Byrd, one of the founding fathers of hip arthroscopy.

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Hip Anatomy

The hip is a “ball and socket” joint, so named because the ball-shaped end of the upper thighbone (femur) fits into a socket in the pelvic bone. In addition to these bones, there are ligaments and other soft tissues surrounding the joint to aid in stability and mobility.

The joint surface is lined with articular cartilage to reduce friction when moving the hip. The outside rim of the hip socket has a ring of cartilage called the labrum, which creates a tight seal to hold the ball portion of the joint in place and helps to lubricate the joint. The hip is also surrounded by ligaments that form a capsule to provide further stability, and the capsule is lined with the synovial membrane, which secretes a fluid to lubricate the joint.

All of these elements work together to aid in hip function. Injury to any of the structures in the joint can affect normal hip function.

Common Hip Injuries

There are several injuries and conditions that can affect the soft tissues in the joint, including dysplasia, hip impingement, labral tears, and snapping hip syndrome.

Dysplasia is a condition caused by abnormal bone formation. It is often congenital, meaning it is present at birth. Dysplasia occurs when the femoral head does not fit securely within the socket. The labrum bears the additional stress of keeping the femoral head in the socket, which can eventually result in a labral tear.

Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) occurs when bone protrusions called CAM and pincer lesions develop in the hip, giving the bones an irregular shape. These abnormalities can be congenital (present at birth), or may develop from repetitive trauma during sports activity. FAI affects motion within the joint and causes the bones to rub together in an abnormal manner. This can lead to pain in the groin area and hip, and may also result in stiffness and limping. Eventually, a labral tear may occur.

Labral tears of the hip often occur due to sudden injury or repetitive motion. Structural abnormalities, such as CAM and pincer lesions, can also increase the likelihood of developing a labral tear. A labral tear can cause pain in the hip or groin, as well as stiffness and limited range of motion in the hip. Patients may also experience a locking, clicking, or catching sensation in the hip with a labral tear.

Snapping hip syndrome occurs when a muscle or tendon rubs against one of the hip bones, creating a snapping or popping sensation. While snapping hip syndrome is sometimes painless, repetitive rubbing can eventually cause inflammation and pain.


If you have any of these conditions and nonsurgical treatment has not provided relief, you may be a candidate for arthroscopic hip surgery.

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Arthroscopic Surgery for Hip Injuries

Arthroscopic surgery is generally recommended when a patient’s condition does not improve with nonsurgical treatment. Arthroscopy allows your surgeon to view your hip and perform the surgery without needing to make a large incision. This results in less pain after surgery and quicker recovery times.

During the procedure, Dr. Chern makes 2 to 3 small incisions to insert the arthroscope. The arthroscope is a small camera that displays images from inside the joint on a video screen. Other small incisions are made to insert operating instruments and perform the surgery.

Depending on your condition and his findings, Dr. Chern may repair a torn labrum, remove inflamed synovial tissue, smooth out damaged cartilage, or remove bone spurs during the procedure.

Recovery After Hip Arthroscopy

The initial phase of recovery from hip arthroscopy is generally quicker than recovery from open hip surgery. Smaller incisions result in less pain after surgery, with allows patients to more easily participate in rehabilitation exercises.

If Dr. Chern recommends physical therapy, Seaview offers physical therapy services within each of its locations. On-site physical therapy allows for greater communication between Dr. Chern and your physical therapist so that we can provide our patients with high-quality care throughout the entire treatment process.

Long-term outcomes of hip arthroscopy vary, but the majority of patients are able to return to normal activities in about 3 to 4 months, on average.

In some cases, damage to the hip cannot be completely reversed or repaired through arthroscopy. In those cases, additional procedures or activity modification may be recommended. Dr. Chern will work with you to determine the best plan of action moving forward.

Hip Arthroscopy in Central New Jersey and Jersey Shore 

Seaview Orthopaedic and Medical Associates offer hip arthroscopy to treat a variety of hip injuries and conditions, including labral tears, hip impingement, and snapping hip syndrome. Dr. Kenneth Chern has extensive experience in hip arthroscopy and has trained under one of the founding fathers of hip arthroscopy, Dr. J. W. Thomas Byrd.

If you think hip arthroscopy may be right for you and would like to book an appointment with Dr. Chern at one of our convenient office locations, please call our office at 732-660-6200 or fill out our appointment request form.

Schedule an Appointment to Learn More on Hip Arthroscopy