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Surgery for FAI can be performed using hip arthroscopy or open surgery. In hip arthroscopy, the hip is distracted and an arthroscope (a videocamera about the size of a pen) is used to look in the joint to see and treat damage that is found using two to five incisions that are about ¼ inch in size. Often, all of the components of FAI such as the labral tear, damaged articular cartilage, and bony changes between the ball and socket can be treated with the assistance of the arthroscope.
Repair of a torn labrum as well as stimulating new cartilage growth (microfracture) are often possible with the arthroscopic approach. A hip arthroscopy involving labral debridement (no repair) and no bony decompression usually takes less than one hour. A hip arthroscopy involving labral/cartilage repair and FAI decompression usually takes about two hours. This is done as an outpatient surgery (go home the same day). This is the way it is performed here at Stanford.
The open surgical hip dislocation involves a single long incision (approximately 7 to 10 inches), cutting a bone of the upper thigh, and dislocation of the ball from the socket exposing all parts of the joint. This exposure allows treatment of labral tears and abnormal contact between the ball and socket.
The open approach can typically be done in a few hours. Patients usually stay in the hospital for several days after this approach.
Recovery from surgery
The patient is on crutches after surgery. Recovery time from most FAI surgical procedures is 4-6 months to full, unrestricted activity. Your postoperative activity level will depend on your surgeon's recommendation, the type of surgery performed, and the condition of the hip joint at the time of surgery.