Over an eight-month period we prospectively enrolled 122 patients who underwent arthroscopic surgery of the hip for femoroacetabular impingement and met the inclusion criteria for this study. Patients with bilateral hip arthroscopy, avascular necrosis and previous hip surgery were excluded. Ten patients refused to participate leaving 112 in the study. There were 62 women and 50 men. The mean age of the patients was 40.6 yrs (95% confidence interval (CI) 37.7 to 43.5). At arthroscopy, 23 patients underwent osteoplasty only for cam impingement, three underwent rim trimming only for pincer impingement, and 86 underwent both procedures for mixed-type impingement. The mean follow-up was 2.3 years (2.0 to 2.9). The mean modified Harris hip score (HHS) improved from 58 to 84 (mean difference = 24 (95% CI 19 to 28)) and the median patient satisfaction was 9 (1 to 10). Ten patients underwent total hip replacement at a mean of 16 months (8 to 26) after arthroscopy. The predictors of a better outcome were the pre-operative modified HHS (p = 0.018), joint space narrowing >or= 2 mm (p = 0.005), and repair of labral pathology instead of debridement (p = 0.032). Hip arthroscopy for femoroacetabular impingement, accompanied by suitable rehabilitation, gives a good short-term outcome and high patient satisfaction.