Hip FAI Surgery Success Rate: While Rates of Hip Arthroscopy Explode 600% in 4 Years, Does the Surgery Work?

By /
Medical illustration showing a hip arthroscopy


10 years ago, no one had hardly heard of hip arthroscopy. Operating on the hip was limited to a few superficial or muscle procedures and a hip replacement. However, in the last 5 years, the ability to operate on the inside of the hip using the same general type of tools used in knee arthroscopy has exploded. A recent study says that hip arthroscopy rates increased some 600% from 2006-2010. However, while researchers are still trying to figure out the hip FAI surgery success rate, this morning I’d like to go over why it  may not be as good as we think:

1. Hip arthroscopy is unlikely to help if you’ve lost half or more of your hip cartilage. This is concerning, as we still see many patients get the procedure performed when they’ve lost hip cartilage from arthritis.

2. Based on a new study, the bone spurs often removed by hip arthroscopy surgery for impingement are protective of the cartilage

3. The hip arthroscopy portal syndrome. This is a problem we’ve observed where the surgical holes (portals) come apart and don’t heal, leaving the patient in pain and with a new problem.

4. Poor outcomes based on new hip surgery research when the procedure is used to treat labral tears. In one recent study, about half the patients had a poor outcome.

5. Everybody has FAI! FAI is a medical term for hip impingement. This means that the patient has bone spurs which are causing damage to the cartilage and leading to arthritis. As above, the most common type of bone spur treated is actually protecting and not harming cartilage! In addition, a few studies have shown that an awful lot of normal patients without pain have FAI on their MRIs! So when you have hip pain and a doctor diagnoses FAI based on an MRI, is the FAI causing your hip pain or is it just a coincidence? Should we be treating something with an invasive surgery if that problem is really common in patients without pain and arthritis?

My recommendation?  Clearly from the above, the Hip FAI Surgery success rate is not what you would think. Research a bit before you get hip arthroscopy surgery! Also make sure you check out all the alternatives!

Learn about Regenexx procedures for hip osteoarthritis conditions.
Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, please email us at [email protected]

NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

Get Blog Updates by Email

We do not sell, or share your information to third party vendors.

By submitting the form you agree that you’ve read and consent to our Privacy Policy. We may use email, phone, or other electronic means to communicate information about Regenexx.

We will provide information to help you decide whether you want to schedule an evaluation with a Regenexx Physician.

Insurance typically covers evaluations and diagnostic testing (if recommended). Most insurance plans currently do not cover Regenexx Procedures.

Copyright © Regenexx 2021. All rights reserved.



9035 Wadsworth Pkwy #1000
Westminster, CO 80021


*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.