Hemiarthroplasty vs Total Hip Replacement – Overview

Hip replacement surgery is a surgical procedure in which the hip joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant known as a hip prosthesis.

The aims of the procedure are pain relief and improvement in hip function. Hip replacement is usually considered only after other therapies, such as physical therapy and pain medications, have failed.

Hemiarthroplasty is a type of replacement surgery that involves replacing half (hemi) of the hip joint, usually, the femoral head of the hip joint (the ball) is replaced with a prosthesis while the acetabulum (the socket) is left in its natural pre-operative state while total hip replacement involves the replacement of both the femoral head and the acetabulum.

Similarities between Hemiarthroplasty vs Total Hip Replacement

There are similarities between hemiarthroplasty and total hip replacement. Both are types of hip replacement surgery with similar aims of relieving pain and improving hip function. Also, like any surgery, they both have their risks of complications.

Related: Knee Replacement Surgery

Differences between Hemiathroplasty vs Total Hip Replacement

Some of the differences between the two approaches are scope, candidates, complications, costs and outlook of the procedures.


A total hip replacement (total hip arthroplasty or THA) consists of replacing both the acetabulum and the femoral head while hemiarthroplasty generally only replaces the femoral head.


Hemiarthroplasty is usually recommended as the treatment choice for elderly patients with femoral fractures due to their lower life expectancy and physical activity level. Total hip replacement on the other hand is preferred for younger and physically active patients.


In a study, it was found that the complication rate for hemiarthroplasty was significantly higher in comparison to total hip replacement. It is well documented that the rate of dislocation in THR performed following a fractured neck of the femur is significantly higher.


Generally, the cost of total hip replacement surgery is higher compared to a hemiarthroplasty. According to the International Federation of Healthcare Plans, the average cost of a total hip replacement in 2012 was $40,364 in the United States whereas hemiarthroplasty cost about $21,500.

In conclusion, both hemiarthroplasty and total hip replacement surgery are types of hip surgery and they are both used to improve hip functions.

Whether fractures of the femoral neck in patients should be treated with hemiarthroplasty, or total hip replacement (THR) should be determined by the degree of fracture displacement, the patient’s age, functional demands and risk profile such as level of cognitive function and degree of physical fitness.

More: Types of Hip Surgery

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