Comparing the different types of hip surgery

Hip replacement is considered one of the most common surgical procedures in the UK. However, there are many different types of hip replacement surgery. Read on as we take a look at the different hip replacement types available through Practice Plus Group.

Elderly patients use a tablet device to research types of hip surgery
Elderly patients use a tablet device

What types of hip surgery are there?

If you or someone you know thinks they need an urgent hip replacement, the options below will give you an idea of what’s possible…

Total hip replacement

This surgical procedure sees the hip joint removed and replaced with a hip implant. It can be performed as a total replacement or a half replacement. It sounds complicated, but hip replacement is one of the most common orthopaedic operations.

Partial hip replacement

Unlike a total hip replacement, this procedure doesn’t replace the socket of the hip joint. Instead, the ball of the joint is replaced. This is a common procedure in the elderly, usually following a fracture of the hip after a fall.

Hip revision surgery

Hip revision surgery is sometimes called repeat hip replacement. It involves replacing a patient’s artificial hip joint if it has become loose, infected or worn out.

Hip arthroplasty

This is the medical term for a hip replacement. There is no difference between hip arthroplasty and hip replacement surgery. The goals are to restore function and relieve hip pain.

Hip resurfacing

Hip resurfacing is a form of hip replacement surgery that takes less bone from the joint. It’s only really effective in younger adults with stronger bones. This procedure has become less common over recent years and is now only practised in a handful of UK hospitals.

Minimally invasive hip surgery

This approach sees the surgeon make one or more shorter incisions over the hip. The aim of this procedure is to reduce pain and speed up recovery time. The operation may not be suitable for all patients.

Types of hip replacement approaches

A surgeon conducting hip replacement operations can access the hip from either the front or the back.

The approach taken will be your surgeon’s preference.

Posterior hip replacement approach

During this procedure, the surgeon will access the hip joint from just behind the femur. This approach means no muscles are cut during the surgery, which allows for a quicker recovery time. Surgeon’s advocating for the posterior approach will point to less damage to the muscles as the main advantage.

Anterior hip replacement approach

Access is made through the front of the hip. This is to minimise damage to the surrounding muscles and speed up the recovery time. There has been recent interest in the anterior approach as a muscle-sparing procedure. Surgeons advocating for this approach will point to a faster patient recovery time. There’s also the greatly reduced possibility of the patient developing a limp.

Types of hip replacement materials

There are three different types of material used in hip replacement surgery:

  • metal
  • ceramic
  • Polyethylene.

The best combination of materials used for your implant will be determined by your surgeon during your consultation.

What type of hip replacement implant is best?

There is no straight answer to this. While ceramic ball implants are famously durable, advancements with polyethylene mean this material is now just as long-lasting.

The material used in hip replacement surgeries is determined by a number of factors. These include the patient’s age, health and surgeon’s preference.

Which method of hip replacement is best for you?

Both the method of replacement and material used in the implant are determined by a number of factors. These include the patient’s age, activity level, general heath, and what the surgeon decides as the best course of action.

Best type of hip replacement surgery for younger adults

For younger patients, the best course of action would be to have an uncemented total hip replacement. The implant would likely be made of ceramic and metal.

Best type of hip replacement surgery for older adults

The preferred method of surgery for elderly patients showing signs of needing a hip replacement would be to fix it with medical cement. This is because the bone quality of older patients is unlikely to connect effectively with the artificial joint.

Best type of hip surgery for osteoarthritis

Total hip replacement is the best course of action for patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the hip. Patients suffering from osteoarthritis can be any age whose quality of life has decreased due the condition.

Common questions about different types of hip operations

Hip replacement surgery is regarded as one of the safest and most commonly undertaken orthopaedic procedures in the UK. However, it is still classed as a major operation and it’s therefore natural to want to know more.

How many types of hip surgery are there?

There are three main types of hip surgery:

  • total hip replacement
  • partial hip replacement
  • hip resurfacing

What’s the difference between a partial hip replacement and a total hip replacement?

A hip replacement (or partial hip replacement) only sees the ball part of the joint replaced by either a metal implant. A total hip replacement replaces both the ball and socket with an implant.

What is the newest procedure for hip replacement?

Practice Plus Group is one of the few healthcare providers in the country to offer Pathway. It’s an enhanced recovery plan that allows patients to safely have a hip replacement and be discharged from hospital on the same day.

What is the least invasive hip replacement surgery?

During minimally invasive hip replacement surgery, the surgeon makes one or two small incisions over the hip. The aim of this procedure is to reduce pain and speed up recovery time. The operation may not be suitable for all patients.

Which is more common: anterior or posterior hip replacement?

Up to two thirds of all hip replacement approaches are posterior. This makes it by far the most common approach. It’s carried out with an incision along the outside of the hip while the patient lies on their side.

Hip replacement types: NHS or private?

There is a wealth of hip replacement surgeries available through the NHS and private healthcare. Therefore, the question really becomes about hip surgery cost and waiting times.

As of January 2021, 58,000 people had waited an average of 25 additional weeks for their hip replacement.

At Practice Plus, if you are paying for yourself, the average waiting time from booking enquiry to hip replacement surgery is 11 weeks.

Why choose Practice Plus Group?

At Practice Plus Group Hospitals, we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience and excellent clinical outcomes, with personalised care every step of the way. Whether you’re paying for yourself or using private medical insurance, with our short waiting times, unrivalled Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and high levels of cleanliness and infection control, we’ll make sure you’re looked after. In fact, we were the first provider to have all services rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC.



Our team is dedicated to delivering high-quality treatment to our patients while also ensuring they feel as comfortable as possible throughout their stay with us.