Arthroscopic Iliotibial Band Release
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique used in the treatment of sports medicine injuries. It involves the use of a fiber-optic camera, which we place into a joint through a small incision in order to visualize ligaments, cartilage, and soft tissue. Through another small incision, we can then use small instruments to remove or repair broken or damaged tissue.

Arthroscopic iliotibial band release is performed for patients who have an external snapping hip that has been unresolved with extensive physical therapy and IT band stretching program. The most common site where the external snapping hip syndrome occurs is at the point along the leg where the IT band lies over the greater trochanter of the femur. As the leg turns inwards and outwards, the tight IT band glides over the greater trochanter and makes a snapping noise. This can be a source of pain for patients and is often accompanied by trochanteric bursitis.

Through a small arthroscopic incision, the IT band can be located on the outside of the thigh. In the procedure, a portion of the IT band is excised so that an opening is created over the greater trochanter. By removing this piece of the IT band, it will no longer get caught on the greater trochanter and thus the snapping sensation will no longer occur.

Postoperative Instructions:


  • You may move your hip in any direction that is comfortable. Do not force the motion though because this will likely cause pain.


  • An injection of local anesthesia was injected into your knee after the completion of the operation. This medication will wear off in 5 to 6 hours. Therefore, begin taking the pain medication (e.g. Vicodin, Percocet, etc) immediately when you get home. This will prevent you from having severe pain. Take the pain medication every 4 hours until you go to bed.
  • The day after surgery you can take 600 mg of Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) every 6 hours to help with inflammation and pain. This medication will help cut down the use of narcotic-based pain medication. However, if you still have pain after taking the Ibuprofen, continue taking the pain medication every 4-6 hours as needed.
  • A sleeping medication (e.g. Ambien) is also provided to help you sleep at night. Take one tablet 30 minutes before you plan to sleep.


  • Your dressing is water-proof; you can shower as soon as the day after surgery. Do NOT submerge in a bath tub however; only shower and allow water to run over your dressing and pat it dry.
  • Two days after surgery you may remove your dressing completely and get your incisions wet. Apply band-aids over the incisions. Your sutures will be removed at your first post operative visit.


  • Please call the office prior to, or immediately following, your surgery in order to schedule a postoperative appointment. This should be scheduled 7-10 days after surgery. At that visit your stitches will be removed and you will be given a prescription to begin physical therapy.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our assistant at (310) 659-2910 extension 3048.

Download the postoperative instructions for your procedure (PDF) 


Recovery Timeline:

Day of surgery: Arrive one to two hours prior to surgery. Procedure will take approximately one to one and a half hours, and recovery time is one hour. For immediate post-op instructions, download the instruction sheet.

One week post-op: First follow-up visit with Dr. Snibbe/Jennifer. Your dressing will be removed and stitches will be taken out. You will start icing the surgical area two to three times a day (or more if needed). Discontinue crutches as tolerated. Physical therapy will be prescribed. Start physical therapy immediately to work on range of motion.

Four weeks post-op: Second follow-up visit. Range of motion and strength test. Physical therapy will continue to improve range of motion. Mild stiffness is still common. You can start foam roller exercises for IT band stretching.

Eight weeks post-op: Third follow-up visit. Range of motion and strength testing. If additional range of motion or strength training needed, continue physical therapy to work on these. Pain should be mostly resolved at this point. Near full recovery is expected at this time.

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