Hip Arthroplasty vs Hip Arthroscopy: What’s the Difference?

Although the two sounds similar, they are very different procedures. In brief, a hip arthroplasty is what we commonly refer to as a hip replacement surgery; whereas a hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat certain hip conditions. Let’s find out more about both in this article.

By Arete Orthopaedic Centre
Medically reviewed by Dr Wang Lushun

What Is Hip Arthroplasty (Hip Replacement)?

Hip arthroplasty, or hip replacement surgery, is a major surgical procedure that involves the replacement of a severely diseased or damaged hip joint with an artificial component, known as a prosthesis. This surgery aims to alleviate discomfort, improve mobility, and restore function to the hip joint.

The main reason why some patients undergo hip arthroplasty is due to arthritic damage. A doctor may recommend a hip replacement if a patient experiences severe pain, swelling, and damage to the hip joint due to conditions such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Hip fractures
  • Hip joint tumour

What Is Hip Arthroscopy (Minimally Invasive Hip Surgery)?

Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that utilises a small camera, called an arthroscope, to diagnose and treat problems within the hip joint. Unlike traditional open surgery requiring a large incision, hip arthroscopy uses only a few small incisions, through which specialised instruments are inserted.

This procedure is used both as a diagnostic procedure (to examine the inside of the hip joint) and as a form of treatment, not including requiring the replacement of the hip joints. Generally speaking, orthopaedic surgeons may recommend a hip arthroscopy to diagnose and/or treat:

  • Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)
  • Hip labral tears
  • Snapping hip syndrome
  • Hip joint infection
  • Dysplasia
  • Synovitis
  • Loose bone fragments or bone cartilage around the joint
  • Tendon ruptures or disorders

What Are the Benefits of Both Procedures?

Hip arthroplasty and hip arthroscopy are both safe and established procedures for addressing different types of hip joint problems:

Benefits of Hip Arthroplasty

  • Pain Relief: A hip arthroplasty replaces diseased hip joints with prosthetic implants to restore comfort to the hip joints, allowing one to lead a pain-free life again.
  • Long-lasting: The implants used in hip arthroplasty are usually made of durable materials such as metal, plastic, and ceramic parts; which are designed to last for at least 10-15 years.
  • Restored Mobility: The procedure significantly improves one’s mobility and function, which allows the patient to regain an independent and active lifestyle.

Benefits of Hip Arthroscopy

  • Improved Mobility: A hip arthroscopy helps identify and potentially treat the underlying cause of pain, thereby improving one’s mobility.
  • Faster Recovery: Since this procedure is minimally invasive in nature, a hip arthroscopy typically has a shorter recovery period and reduced post-operative pain.
  • Treat a Wide Range of Issues: Hip arthroscopy can be used to treat a wide range of mild to moderate hip conditions.

An orthopaedic surgeon will carefully assess the extent of joint damage, the patient's symptoms, and their overall health and activity level to determine the most appropriate treatment needed. If you are experiencing hip pain, do not delay seeking medical attention. Call us at 8772 6928 for an appointment today.

Dr Wang Lushun
Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBBS (S’pore), MRCS (Edin), MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho) (Edin)

With over 18 years of experience in orthopaedic surgery, Dr Wang Lushun is skilled in the treatment of a wide range of sports injuries and musculoskeletal disorders, including those of the hip. He specialises in performing minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery to treat various hip and knee conditions effectively. Dr Wang is committed to providing individualised and high-quality care to help his patients regain an active and independent lifestyle.

Leadership on Orthopaedic Advisory Boards
Double Fellowships at Centres of Excellence
Senior Consultant with Over 18 Years of Experience
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