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Hip debridement surgery

Hip debridement is an operation to remove abnormal or excess bone and tissue from your hip joint, reducing pain and restoring function

Surgeon reviews an x-ray on a tablet computer during a hip debridement surgery procedure
Hip debridement surgery is a type of orthopaedic surgery that removes damaged components surrounding your hip joint to enable it to function properly and remain flexible. This damage might include excess bone or abnormal tissue, which is often associated with soft tissue lesions (abnormal tissue) in your hip joint.

How your hips work

Your hips are two flexible ball-and-socket joints on each side of your pelvis. Your hips are one of your body's largest weight-bearing joints, consisting of two main parts, which are:

Your femoral head: This is a ball-shaped bone located at the top of your femur (thigh bone).

Your acetabulum: This is a socket in your pelvis where your femoral head fits.

Together, these components make up the ball and socket hip joint, which allow backward, forward, sideways, and rotating movements. These joints move with the help of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around them, facilitating your range of motion and providing flexibility.

Any type of damage to your hip joint can result in hip pain as well as stiffness and lack of mobility in your joint. If your consultant thinks that this can be improved or corrected by clearing debris from inside your hip joint, they might recommend hip debridement surgery.

Hip debridement surgery at Circle Health Group

At Circle Health Group, we have a network of dedicated orthopaedic surgeons highly skilled in delivering hip debridement surgery. They are supported by multidisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals, including pain management specialists and physiotherapists, to help you recover from surgery and get back on your feet as soon as possible.

Hip debridement surgery is either performed as open surgery or, more commonly, it is done arthroscopically (keyhole surgery). The approach your consultant will use depends on the extent of damage to your hip, which can be caused by a number of conditions and joint problems. If the damage is significant, you will need open surgery to repair damage inside your joint as well as around it. If the damage is less, you will need an arthroscopy to 'clean out' your joint and repair the damage around your hip.

What is orthopaedic surgery?

Orthopaedics is the medical specialty concerned with the treatment of injuries and disorders of your joints and associated soft tissues. Associated soft tissues means your ligaments, nerves and muscles. These components make up your musculoskeletal system, which helps to support your bodily functions, protect your skeletal muscles, and aid your movement.

Many different things can cause damage to your musculoskeletal system, most of which can be categorised as either traumatic injuries or medical conditions. This damage can cause pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness in your affected joint(s), which in turn can dramatically impact your overall quality of life. While pain from an injury or a joint condition may be widespread, it is more often localised in one joint, for example your shoulder, wrist, ankle or hip.

Orthopaedic surgery is any surgery that concerns injuries and conditions of your musculoskeletal system. Many of our specialists are consultant orthopaedic surgeons, meaning they are highly trained in performing surgical procedures.

To find out more about our orthopaedic services, including hip debridement surgery, you can call us on 0141 300 5009 or book an appointment with one of our orthopaedic surgeons online. 

Your hips contain cartilage, which is a tough, flexible tissue found throughout your body. It covers the surface of your joints, acting as a protective layer and allowing your bones to slide over one another smoothly instead of grating against one another and deteriorating. When your cartilage becomes damaged and breaks down, your joints can become severely painful, swollen, and stiff, because they are no longer protected by your cartilage.

There are several conditions that can cause your cartilage to break down and damage to occur inside and around your joints, including:


Osteoarthritis impacts an estimated nine million people across the UK. It occurs when the cartilage that covers the ends of your joint begins to break down. As a result, the bones that form your joint begin to rub together causing pain, inflammation and stiffness.

Rheumatoid arthritis

This form of arthritis affects 1% of the UK population. It is caused by your immune system attacking the cells that line your joints, which leads to swelling, pain, and stiffness in your shoulder.

Hip bursitis

A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that sits near a joint. It acts as a cushion between your bones, muscles, and ligaments. This soft tissue reduces friction and helps to protect a joint from shock and impact. When a bursa becomes inflamed it produces excess fluid, causing it to swell up and sometimes form a lump. This is called bursitis.

A hip fracture

A hip fracture is when a crack occurs at the top of your thigh bone (femur). Hip fractures are usually caused by a traumatic injury such as an injury during contact sports, but they can sometimes happen because of a condition that weakens your hip bone, for example osteoporosis.

These conditions can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Hip pain that gets worse at night
  • A grating or clicking sound when you move your hip
  • Hip pain during sex
  • A swollen hip
  • You're struggling to move your hip
  • Hip pain that stops you from doing your everyday activities
  • Hip pain that stops you from going to work
  • Hip pain that doesn't respond to treatment options such as medication and physiotherapy

The cost of your hip debridement surgery will depend on where you have the procedure and which consultant you have it with.

Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.

If you have private health insurance, hip debridement surgery will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.

You can usually see an orthopaedic surgeon for your initial consultation within 48 hours of booking your appointment with us.

During this initial appointment, your consultant will ask about your general health and your medical history in more detail. They will want to know about any existing medical conditions, as well as the current symptoms you are experiencing. They'll ask you how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur, and whether you have had any treatment for them yet.

In order to assess your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis of your concern, your consultant will next carry out a gentle, but thorough, physical examination of your hip. They might also arrange for you to have an ultrasound scan or X-ray if they feel that anything needs further investigation.

Once they have identified what's causing your problems, they will share more information about shoulder replacement surgery and whether it is the right treatment option for you. Hip debridement surgery is not always the first treatment option we will recommend. There are other treatment options, including steroid injection therapy and physiotherapy to help reduce inflammation in your hip and ease your pain. Your consultant will discuss these options with you.

Your initial consultation is an important and positive step in your journey towards improved health and wellbeing. It's where we start to get to know you as an individual and it's from the information, we find out during this session that we will start building a treatment plan, bespoke to your needs. To make the most of the initial consultation, you should feel free to talk as openly and honestly as you like about the symptoms you're experiencing, the way they make you feel, and what you're hoping to get from surgery.

Your surgeon will give you a good idea of timelines during your initial consultation, after which they'll put together a fixed-price treatment package based on everything you have discussed together.

There is not a lot you can do to prepare for hip debridement surgery. Your orthopaedic surgeon might recommend incorporating certain lifestyle factors in the run-up to surgery to ensure you are as healthy as possible. These factors include staying active before surgery (this doesn't have to be high-impact exercise, but can be regular gentle walking or even swimming to remain fit), as well maintaining a balanced diet that suits you as an individual.

We encourage people to stay as healthy as possible before hip surgery to decrease the risk of complications happening during it, although these are already unlikely to occur. Being healthy and mobile also helps you recover from surgery faster.

Losing weight

If you are overweight, your consultant might ask that you lose weight before surgery. They'll give you detailed advice about how to do this safely and healthily.

No alcohol

You should avoid drinking alcohol for at least 48 hours before having hip surgery. Please speak with your consultant about this in more detail.

No food or drink before surgery

You should avoid eating or drinking after midnight the night before surgery. Your consultant will discuss this with you in more detail.

Changes to your medication

Your consultant will also share information on whether you should avoid taking your usual medication before going into hospital, or the kind of medication you might need to take after you have surgery.

Eliminate tripping hazards at home

Remember to eliminate any tripping hazards such as uneven flooring (this could be anything from uneven tiles to loose rugs and carpets) or general mess in your home before surgery. This is to ensure you don't trip and injure your hip further.

Making your home recovery-friendly

In the weeks after your surgery, your mobility will be limited as you recover. We recommend stocking up your house with food and resources or arranging for a friend or family member to do so.

Arranging transport to and from hospital

You'll also need to think about how you're getting to and from hospital and have this arranged before you come in for surgery. Perhaps a friend or family member can give you a lift, or maybe you'd rather book a taxi, which we can arrange for you in hospital.

Arthroscopic hip debridement usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes to perform. It is performed under general anaesthetic, meaning you will not be awake during it.

Your consultant will begin by making two or three small incisions across your hip. They will then insert an arthroscope (a small, thin tube with a light and camera attached to the end of it) into the area between the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) of your hip joint. The arthroscope is connected to a monitor, so your consultant can see inside your hip.

Next, your consultant will insert specialist instruments through one or more incisions to 'clean out' your joint and remove the surrounding excess bone and tissue. They will also repair damaged tissue, if needed, but their technique for doing this will depend on the extent of the damage. After your joint is cleaned out and all damage has been removed or repaired, your consultant will close the incision using non-dissolvable sutures or surgical tape strips.

If you have open hip debridement surgery, your consultant will make one large incision across your hip to perform the surgery. This is a more invasive approach with a longer recovery time but is needed in certain cases to access areas of your hip joint that are inaccessible with keyhole surgery.

Open hip debridement surgery involves reshaping the ball and socket of your hip joint, as well as 'cleaning out' and removing surrounding debris. Your consultant will close the incision using non-dissolvable sutures or surgical tape strips.

Your consultant will explain which type of hip debridement you are having ahead of time, so you'll feel informed and prepared for the procedure. They are there to answer any of your questions and put your mind at ease.

Most people recover from arthroscopic hip debridement surgery within six weeks, but everyone recovers differently depending on factors such as their age, general fitness levels, and lifestyle. You will have a follow-up appointment during this time for your consultant to assess how well you are recovering and answer any questions about the process that you might have.

Some people can leave the hospital on the same day as their surgery, while others need to stay overnight to be monitored.

You will have some pain and swelling in your hip as the general anaesthesia wears off and you regain feeling in your joint, but your nurses will help you effectively manage this with painkillers. You will be provided with compression stockings to wear immediately after surgery. These are specialised stockings to help maintain your blood flow and reduce pain and swelling in your hip.

Your physiotherapist will help you get out of bed and take your first steps after surgery.

Physiotherapy after surgery

You will meet your physiotherapist at the hospital after your operation, if not before. They will get to know you and your individual circumstances, and they'll tailor your specialised recovery programme so that it's bespoke to you. This plan will be made up of exercises to strengthen your hip muscles and improve your mobility and the range of motion in your hip.

Your physiotherapist will let you know how regularly you should do these exercises outside of your sessions, and they'll help you source any equipment you might need to help you do them. They'll also give you advice on how to incorporate exercise into your daily routine at home, so that your physiotherapy becomes a normal part of your day.

Recovering at home

You should be able to return to work after two weeks, but this depends on the type of job you do. Your consultant will understand your individual circumstances better and be able to advise on this, as well as when you should return to driving. Generally, you can drive within two weeks of having the surgery, but it is best to check this with your consultant. You must be sure that you can perform an emergency stop and tell your insurance company that you have had surgery.

You can start incorporating gentle exercise back into your routine after two to four weeks. It's different for everyone, and your surgeon and physiotherapist will have explained to you what to do and how to know when you're ready. Going on long, slow walks can really help you build up your fitness and mobility again. It is normal to have some pain and swelling within this six-week recovery period, but this can be effectively managed with painkillers and physiotherapy.

Your consultant will be able to provide a detailed recovery plan based on your individual needs and circumstances.

It is important to remember that complications from hip debridement surgery are rare and that there are risks attached to any surgery, not just hip debridement surgery. Most people who have the operation will not experience any complications.

Potential complications during any surgical procedure include:

  • Infection in the surgical wound
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Blood clots
  • Chest infection
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Specific complications that can occur during hip debridement surgery include:

  • Pain in your hip persisting after surgery
  • Sceptic arthritis
  • Damage to your nerves
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Infection in your hip
  • Blood clots

Serious complications as a result of hip debridement surgery are rare. If you have any concerns about these, speak with your consultant. They will be able to discuss their likelihood with you in more detail and put your mind at ease.

What is the main purpose of debridement?

The main aim of hip debridement is to remove damaged components from inside your hip joint to enable it to function properly and remain flexible. This damage includes excess bone or abnormal tissue, which is often associated with soft tissue lesions (abnormal tissue) in your hip joint.

How long does it take to recover from hip debridement?

It takes around six weeks to recover from hip debridement surgery, but this depends on a variety of factors, including your age and lifestyle choices.

Will I be on crutches after hip debridement?

Yes, you might need crutches for a few weeks after surgery. These will help support your hip and stop you from putting too much weight on it after surgery, which in turn will help you recover faster.

When can I have sex after hip debridement?

You can have sex as soon as you feel comfortable, but we recommend waiting for six weeks, allowing time for the muscles and tissue around your hip to heal first.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Support by the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about hip debridement surgery, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in September 2022. Next review due September 2025.

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