Hip Arthroscopy Post-Operative Care

Wound dressing

  • After hip arthroscopy the wound is covered with gauze or ace wraps.
  • These should generally be left in place for 24 hours.
  • Due to the large amount of fluid used during the arthroscopy, it is normal to see some bloody drainage on the dressings.
  • If bright red blood persists despite elevation and application of ice, please call the doctor.
  • The dressing should be removed and wounds covered with adhesive bandages on the first or second day after surgery.
  • Do not remove the paper strips over the incision or cut any visible sutures.
  • Wounds should be kept dry for 24 hours.
  • Showering is allowed with plastic covering the wounds.

Unless otherwise instructed, the second day after the surgery, the wound may be exposed in the shower, taking care not to scrub the area. The wound should not be submerged in a bathtub or pool until three weeks after surgery.


  • Full weight bearing is advised unless otherwise instructed at the time of surgery.
  • Crutches or a cane may be necessary to assist walking.
  • These aids are used to help with balance but not to remove weight off the leg.
  • Leg elevation for the first 72 hours is also encouraged to minimize swelling.
  • Range of motion, straight leg raises, and ankle pumps are encouraged for the first 7 days after surgery and are to be started the evening of surgery.
  • While exercise is important, don't over-do it. Common sense is the rule.


  • The anesthetic drugs used during your surgery may cause nausea for the first 24 hours.
  • If nausea is encountered, drink only clear liquids (i.e. Sprite or 7-up).
  • The only solid food that should be eaten is dry crackers or toast.
  • If nausea and vomiting become severe or the patient shows sign of dehydration (lack of urination) please call the doctor or the surgery center.
  • A low-grade fever (100.5) is not uncommon in the first 24 hours but is unusual beyond.
  • Please call the doctor with any temperature over 101.0 degrees.
  • If a spinal anesthetic was used, patients may suffer a spinal headache. Please call the surgery center should this occur and it does not resolve with ibuprofen or your pain medication.

Pain medication

  • You may take a baby aspirin (81 mg) daily until the sutures are removed in the office.
  • This may lower the risk of a blood clot developing after surgery.
  • Should severe calf pain occur or significant swelling of calf and ankle, please call the doctor.
  • Local anesthetics (i.e. Novocaine) are put into the joint during surgery.
  • It is not uncommon for patients to encounter more pain on the first or second day after surgery. This is the time when swelling peaks.
  • Using the pain medication as directed will help control pain with little risk of complication.
  • Taking pain medication before bedtime will assist in sleeping.
  • It is important not to drink alcoholic beverages or drive while taking narcotic medication.
  • If you were prescribed narcotic medication (i.e. vicodin, hydrocodone, darvocet) you can supplement those medications with 200 mg or 400 mg of ibuprofen every 4-6 hours.
  • You should resume your normal medications for other conditions the day after surgery.
  • We have no specific diet restrictions after surgery but extensive use of narcotics can lead to constipation. High fiber diet, lots of fluids, and muscle activity can prevent this occurrence.


  • Most patients are able to drive if surgery does not involve their right leg as soon as they stop taking narcotic pain medication.
  • Driving while under the influence of narcotic pain medication is dangerous, illegal and greatly discouraged in all patients.
  • Returning to school or work also depends on the degree of postoperative pain and the demands of your job or classes.
  • Pain is generally a good guide as to whether you can return or not.

Follow-up care and contact information

If unexpected problems, emergencies or other issues occur and you need to talk to the doctor, call 859-218-3065After hours our answering service will route your call to a physician who will be able to advice you concerning your problem.

Contact us at the UK Center for Cartilage Repair and Restoration.

This information is not intended to replace specific instructions from your physician. 

Check with your doctor to make sure these instructions apply to your case. 


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