Private hip impingement surgery

Hip impingement or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) surgery reshapes the bones of your hip joint to help them glide smoothly and prevent cartilage damage. We can help your hip move freely again with reduced pain. 

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  • Consultant appointments are confirmed in one working day
  • We are ranked number one in London for private orthopaedic care
  • 97% of orthopaedic patients rated us as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’

What is hip impingement surgery?

Hip impingement – femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) in medical terms – is caused by abnormally shaped bones rubbing together in your hip joint. In a normal hip, the round head of the thigh bone (femoral head or ball) moves smoothly within the hip socket (acetabulum). But in an impinged hip where excess bone has formed, this motion damages the cushion-like cartilage surrounding these components due to a lack of room between the thigh bone and socket. 

It can also damage a rim of soft tissue, known as the labrum, which lines the socket and helps grip the ball. This can limit your range of movement, cause pain and potentially contribute to you developing hip arthritis as more cartilage and labrum are lost and your bones come into direct contact.

Hip impingement surgery is a minimally invasive procedure to reshape these bones, helping them glide smoothly in your joint. The main surgical option is keyhole surgery, which you may see described as FAI arthroscopic surgery. 

This procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and involves inserting a small camera called an arthroscope into your hip. The camera allows a surgeon to see inside your hip joint so they can remove or repair damaged cartilage and bone. Afterwards, you can expect to move more freely with reduced pain and stiffness in your hip and groin.

When might I need hip impingement surgery?

Typical symptoms of hip impingement are pain in your hip or groin and sometimes a catching sensation when moving. The pain usually feels like a dull but consistent ache in your groin and possibly along your thigh and in your buttocks, worsening when bending or sitting.

You may be recommended FAI hip surgery by your orthopaedic consultant if:

  • You've been diagnosed with hip impingement syndrome through examination and imaging.
  • It's causing you significant pain and impacting your quality of life.
  • Your hip pain hasn't responded to non-surgical treatments such as rest, physical therapy and therapeutic injections.

Hip impingement is most common in young to middle-aged adults, particularly athletes and dancers who twist their hips or squat a lot and develop the condition over time. An abnormally shaped hip joint can also be present from birth, going unrecognised due to not causing significant pain in its early stages.

Find a consultant

Experts in femoroacetabular impingement treatment

We offer rapid access to hip specialists to accurately diagnose and treat your hip pain. If you have hip impingement syndrome, we can provide the most effective treatment without delay. Contact us to have an appointment confirmed within 24 hours.

Hip impingement surgery FAQs

There are two types of hip impingement:

Cam: When the femoral head or 'ball' of your hip has thickened, meaning it isn't perfectly round, doesn't fit your hip joint and causes friction with your acetabulum or 'socket'

Pincer: When your acetabulum extends too far over your femoral head, causing the cartilage to get 'pinched' between the socket rim and front of the femoral head

Both types can occur together and cam and pincer-type femoroacetabular impingement treatments are generally the same. If you need an operation, your surgeon will remove the parts causing the abnormal contact and pain in your hip joint.

Hip impingement surgery aims to correct abnormal bone contact in your hip and reduce cartilage damage by reshaping the joint. Your consultant will discuss likely FAI surgery outcomes with you. Key benefits are typically:

  • Reducing or eliminating pain and stiffness in your hip and groin
  • Improving the range of movement in your hip joint
  • Treating the clicking within the joint that some people experience
  • Getting you back to exercise and daily activities Improving your quality of life
  • Possibly reducing your risk of developing hip arthritis

Femoroacetabular impingement arthroscopic surgery is also a minimally invasive procedure. It involves very small incisions that minimise damage to nearby muscle and soft tissue. This means FAI hip surgery recovery is quicker and less painful than more invasive techniques to treat other chronic hip conditions.

Arthroscopic hip impingement surgery is a common, safe and effective procedure. As with all surgeries, there are some potential risks and side effects that your consultant will explain to you, relevant to your condition. Your surgical team will also take steps to minimise these risks.

Complications can include:

  • Initial pain, stiffness, numbness or swelling in your hip, groin and/or thigh
  • Infection at the point of incision
  • Blood clots known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Poor reaction to anaesthesia, such as sickness

Your consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. They'll let you know how best to prepare for surgery based on your condition, which may include:

  • Trying to maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Remaining active, possibly including doing specific exercises for your hip
  • Arranging for help with travel and tasks such as shopping after surgery
  • Making your home as comfortable and easy to get around as possible
  • Avoiding eating and drinking for a certain amount of time before surgery

Your consultant may request an X-ray, CT or MRI scan to help visualise your hip joint before the procedure.

Arthroscopic hip impingement surgery is usually done under general anaesthetic, meaning you'll be asleep during the procedure, or regional anaesthetic, numbing you from the waist down without putting you to sleep. Your surgeon will make small incisions in your hip and insert surgical instruments including an arthroscopic camera, a tiny device that sends a live view of the inside of your hip joint to a monitor. They may also insert fluid into your hip joint to wash it out and expand it for a better view.

They'll then remove some of the cartilage or bone to reshape the joint surface, a process known as osteoplasty, and restore a better fit between its components. This may involve cutting away excess bone growth from the femoral head or the rim of your acetabulum, depending on your type of impingement. Your surgeon may also repair any cartilage damage during the procedure, before stitching up the incision. The whole procedure usually takes 1-2 hours.

Your hip impingement surgery recovery timeline will be personal based on factors such as your age, fitness level and the nature of your operation.

You'll usually be cared for in hospital overnight after your procedure. Your consultant will let you know how to care for your hip at home and manage pain in the days and weeks following surgery. You might need to use crutches for a short period to keep weight off your hip. You will also have a follow-up appointment to remove your stitches and dressing and check on your progress.

An onsite physiotherapy team will introduce you to exercises that help rebuild strength and range of movement. They'll also let you know when you can get back to your usual routine, including work or exercise, which will vary depending on their impact levels.

As a rough guideline, most people can resume their normal activities without pain around six to eight weeks after surgery. Full recovery, such as unrestricted exercise, can take four to six months. We'll support your FAI hip surgery recovery and aim to get you back to doing the activities you enjoy as soon as possible.

Your hip impingement syndrome may be treatable with non-surgical options such as:

  • Resting and limiting strenuous activities that involve bending and rotating your hip
  • Taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around your hip

Your GP or orthopaedic consultant may recommend trying these before moving on to other femoroacetabular impingement treatment options. This can include using therapeutic injections to relieve pain while confirming whether it is coming from your hip or lower back and abdomen. If your symptoms persist, you may then be recommended surgery.

In some cases, you could need a more extensive open surgery rather than a keyhole procedure. This involves larger incisions and a longer hospital stay and recovery. If you’ve already lost a lot of cartilage in your joint, you may be recommended hip replacement surgery instead.

Why choose HCA UK

Why choose HCA UK?

Hip specialists: Have an appointment with an expert hip consultant confirmed within 24 hours to find solutions for your pain without delay. Imaging on the same day of your appointment is also possible if required.

Accurate diagnosis: We offer the full range of imaging across our hospital and outpatient locations, with reports from specialist radiologists who help the consultant diagnose hip impingement and other orthopaedic conditions accurately.

Leaders in orthopaedic care: We treat the most orthopaedic cases in London, including the most complex, helping us rank number one for private hip surgeries based on Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) data.

Trusted by our patients: In our 2022 patient satisfaction survey, 97% of orthopaedic patients rated us very good or excellent.

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Covering the cost of hip impingement surgery

Typical FAI surgery costs vary depending on the specifics of the treatment recommended by your consultant. For fast access to our hip consultants, diagnostic tests and an extensive range of treatments at our private facilities, you can contact your private medical insurance company or call us directly to pay yourself. 

How to book an appointment

Book an appointment with a hip or pelvis consultant

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced hip consultants to discuss hip impingement surgery. We can also make imaging and outpatient physiotherapy appointments for you.

Private hip impingement surgery Consultants

Mr Giles Stafford

Mr Giles Stafford

Orthopaedic Surgery

Mr Mazin Ibrahim

Mr Mazin Ibrahim

Orthopaedic Surgery

Professor Richard Field

Professor Richard Field

Orthopaedic Surgery

Mr Jonathan Hutt

Mr Jonathan Hutt

Orthopaedic Surgery

Our locations

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

170 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7HA London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
The Princess Grace Hospital

The Princess Grace Hospital

42-52 Nottingham Place W1U 5NY London

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.