Is traditional hip replacement surgery still the gold standard?

Over the past decade, many orthopedic surgeons have been offering minimally invasive surgery for people with hip disorders. Through a small rigid camera, hip arthroscopy allows the surgeon to see inside the joint and do some cleaning and repair, but is traditional hip replacement surgery still the way to go?

The use of hip arthroscopy has skyrocketed in the past decades because of technical ease of performance and visualization of the hip joint.

A minimally invasive surgery with small skin incisions allows for a shorter stay in a hospital. This is associated with less pain and allows for faster recovery.

Hip arthroscopy is widely used to treat a number of painful hip disorders. It is often used to repair or remove an extra bone fragment that develops in early osteoarthritis. The technique has helped many patients with hip disorders but is not a panacea for all hip disorders.

Does hip arthroscopy a durable procedure?

Unfortunately, the research data confirms that minimally invasive surgery in the form of arthroscopy may not be the best option for people who have continuous hip pain. In this latest study, researchers noted that more than 33% of individuals over the age of 60 requires a traditional hip replacement within 24 months.

Hospital for Special Surgery in New York looked at the surgical database of patients in Florida and California. The researchers looked at data from 7,300 patients who had a prior hip arthroscopy. Nearly 2/3rd of patients were females and the mean age was 44.

They observed that nearly 12 percent of these patients required hip replacements within 24 months. Overall, a patient over the age of 60 requires at least 1/3rd of hip replacements.

Another thing, those who had hip arthroscopy in hospitals that performed a high volume of these procedures were less likely to need a hip replacement within 24 months. The rate of hip replacement was lowest in people under the age of 40.

Risk factors that increased the need for hip replacement included age greater than 60, arthritis and obesity.


Seek a surgeon who performs a high volume of traditional hip replacement surgery for patients with painful hip disorders. Hip arthroscopy has many benefits, but what counts is the cost of surgery. It doubles the cost if hip replacement is within 24 months. Always seek a second opinion if you will undergo hip arthroscopy.

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