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Hip Arthroscopy: Removing Loose Bodies

When pieces of bone or cartilage are loose in your hip joint, they can cause painful joint locking and catching. Using a procedure called arthroscopy, your surgeon can remove any loose bodies from your hip. This procedure uses only small incisions and special tools. One of these tools is an arthroscope. This is a small, tube-shaped tool used to look inside your joints.

In the operating room

Just before surgery, you may be asked several times which hip is to be treated. This is a standard safety measure in the operating room. You will likely receive medicine (anesthesia) to make you sleep or make the area numb, or both.

During the procedure

After you receive anesthesia, your leg is gently pulled to widen your hip joint. Next, your surgeon makes a few small incisions called portals. Through these portals, they insert surgical tools, including the arthroscope. The arthroscope sends images of your joint to a video screen. These images allow your surgeon to look inside your joint. The joint is filled with sterile fluid to help your surgeon see more clearly.

Removing loose bodies

When your surgeon locates the loose bodies in your hip, they will try to remove them using a surgical tool, such as a grasper. But sometimes the loose bodies aren’t small enough to be removed. In this case, your surgeon will break down the loose bodies into smaller pieces. Then, the pieces are removed through the portals. Once your surgeon finishes the procedure, the portals are closed and bandaged. Then you are taken to the recovery room.

Cross section of hip joint with arrows showing femoral head of thighbone being pulled out of socket. Dotted line shows normal position of femoral head in socket.
During arthroscopy, the hip joint is gently widened (distracted) to allow the surgeon to access the joint.
Cross section of hip joint showing arthroscopic instruments removing loose piece of tissue from joint. Closeup of arthroscope tip in hip joint and instrument removing loose body.

Online Medical Reviewer: Rahul Banerjee MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2023
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