Hip impingement surgery is an orthopedic surgical procedure performed to address the mechanical causes of stiffness and pain in the hip joints of patients with femoroacetabular impingement syndrome. This condition is caused by variations in the structure of the hip joint that create friction in the joint, leading to inflammation and pain. When addressed early, it may be possible to achieve a curative result, allowing the patient to resume normal activity levels and preventing further damage to the hip joint. This procedure is usually performed by a specialist with experience in hip surgery.
Patients with femoroacetabular impingement can be young or middle aged, with this condition being especially common in athletes. Instead of articulating smoothly, the bones of the hip rub against each other. The patient can experience hip and groin pain, along with stiffness and limited movement. On an X-ray, the changes in the structure of the bone may be visible, and some signs of inflammation can also be visible in the hip joint.
In hip impingement surgery, many surgeons use arthroscopic techniques, inserting tools and a camera through small incisions in the skin. This makes the surgery less invasive, speeding up healing time. Sometimes, open surgery is necessary to fully treat the patient. During either surgery, excess bone is removed to allow the bones in the hip joint to move freely. The surgeon also makes note of any structural or physical changes.
Historically, hip surgery has been used for people with advanced osteoarthritis and other causes of hip pain, and it is often designed to limit pain, but may not be curative. Hip impingement surgery is most effective when performed very early, before permanent damage sets in. After patients heal from the pain and soreness of surgery, they should experience significant pain reduction, including a complete resolution of pain in the case of some patients. They should also be able to be physically active once fully healed.
If hip impingement surgery is an option for a patient, the patient can meet with a surgeon to discuss surgical options and expectations. Patients may find it helpful to meet with several surgeons, who may have different thoughts about the surgery, and it is advisable to ask surgeons about their experience with surgery in general and hip surgery in particular. Surgeons should also be able to provide general information about patient outcomes with other patients, to give patients an idea of what they can expect after hip impingement surgery.