What's the difference between a total hip arthroplasty and a hemiarthroplasty?

Arthroplasty is the term used by doctors to describe surgery on a joint to replace it. If both sides of the joint are replaced, it’s called a total joint arthroplasty. When only part of the joint is removed and replaced, it’s called a hemiarthroplasty.

Hips, knees, and shoulders are the main joints that allow for a hemiarthroplasty. Most joint replacements are total. The decision is made based on the condition of the bone, joint, and cartilage.

The doctor uses X-rays and CT scans before the operation to help with this decision. A final decision is made when the joint is opened or viewed from the inside with an arthroscope.


Markus Flören, MD, and D. Kevin Lester, MD. Outcomes of Total Hip Arthroplasty and Contralateral Bipolar Hemiarthroplasty. A Case Series. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. March 2003. Vol. 85-A. No. 3. Pp. 523-526.


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