Femoroacetabular Impingement Surgery

In Femoroacetabular Impingement Surgery, FAI, bone spurs develop around the femoral head and/or along the acetabulum area of your hip. This bone overgrowth causes hip bones to hit against each other, rather than to move smoothly. Over time, this can result in tearing of the labrum and a breakdown of articular cartilage (osteoarthritis).

Types of FAI

There are three types of FAI: pincer, cam, and combined impingement.

  • Pincer. This type of impingement occurs because extra bone extends out over the normal rim of the acetabulum. The labrum can be crushed under the prominent rim of the acetabulum.
  • Cam. In cam impingement the femoral head is not round and cannot rotate smoothly inside the acetabulum. A bump forms on the edge of the femoral head that grinds the cartilage inside the acetabulum.
  • Combined. Combined impingement just means that both the pincer and cam types are present.

If tests show joint damage caused by FAI and your pain is not relieved by nonsurgical treatment, Dr. Backe may recommend surgery.

Many FAI problems can be treated with arthroscopic surgery. Arthroscopic procedures are done with small incisions and thin instruments. Dr. Backe uses a small camera, called an arthroscope, to view inside the hip.

During arthroscopy, Dr. Backe can repair or clean out any damage to the labrum and articular cartilage. He can correct the FAI by trimming the bony rim of the acetabulum and also shaving down the bump on the femoral head. Some severe cases may require an open operation with a larger incision to accomplish this

Arthroscopic Hip Surgery

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, arthroscopic surgery became popular, especially in the sports world, as fiber optic technology enabled surgeons to see inside the body using a small telescope, called an “arthroscope,” which projects an image to a television monitor.

Thanks to ongoing improvements made by technology leaders like Smith & Nephew Endoscopy, the benefits of arthroscopic surgery for knee and shoulder conditions have been experienced by patients all over the world. By adopting techniques and instruments similar to those used in knee and shoulder procedures, arthroscopic hip surgery has become a more widelyused treatment option for those who suffer from hip pain.

Arthroscopic procedures may be used for a variety of hip conditions, primarily the treatment of labral tears, hip impingement, articular cartilage injuries, and the removal of loose bodies in the joint. Other less frequent conditions treated through hip arthroscopy include tendon or ligament injuries, hip instability, and an inflamed or damaged synovium. Because all of these conditions may eventually lead to hip arthritis, treating them with arthroscopic procedures may be a beneficial option for patients.

Through an incision the width of a straw tip, your surgeon is able to insert a scope, which allows him or her to inspect the joint and locate the source of your pain. Your surgeon will then make one or more small incisions to accommodate the instruments used to treat the hip. These instruments can shave, trim, cut, stitch, or smooth the damaged areas.

Arthroscopic hip surgery is usually performed in an outpatient surgery center, which means no overnight hospital stay is required. You report to the surgical center in the morning, undergo the procedure, and – following a recovery period under the care of medical professionals – return home later in the day.

Postoperative Care

After surgery, you will be transported to the recovery room for close observation of your vital signs and circulation. You may remain in the recovery room for a few hours.

The condition being treated will determine whether or not you will be required to use crutches when you leave the hospital and the length of time that the crutches may be necessary. Your physician will provide specific information regarding your own postoperative plan.


Steps for rehabilitation following arthroscopic hip surgery vary from physician to physician. To learn what activities will be involved in your own rehabilitation, consult your physician.