Many surgical specialities now commonly use keyhole techniques with fibreoptic cameras to treat conditions which have previously required traditional open surgery. Although orthopaedics has been at the forefront of this technology, joints such as the hip joint have proven more difficult to identify safe and appropriate techniques.

Above: Hip animation showing how damage may occur to the joint from a bony bump on the femoral head (called a CAM).

  • Labral tears

  • Removal of loose bodies

  • Osteochondral injuries

  • Synovial disease

  • Ligamentum teres tears

  • Treatment of septic arthritis

  • Surgery for femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)

  • Evaluation of undiagnosed hip pain

The hip joint has a ball and socket shape which is located deep within the body behind muscles, tendons and ligaments. To allow insertion of the keyhole camera, the surgeon uses a specialised instrument to pull on the leg (distractor). A needle is then placed into the joint which removes the suction effect and gradually larger (5mm) instruments are inserted through separate small incisions around the hip.


Keyhole surgery (arthroscopy) of the hip is a demanding and time consuming process, which typically takes longer than hip replacement surgery. At the end of the procedure a patient may see only small skin incisions on the outside, although the work inside the joint is often much greater.


Hip arthroscopy offers benefits for diagnosing and treating conditions with a shorter recovery than open procedures.