Knee replacement xray

What is the difference between Arthroplasty and Arthroscopy?

When it comes to your health, and in particular surgery of any kind, you are not alone in wanting a thorough understanding of the diagnosis, treatment options, possible outcomes and recovery. While we at Cape Hip and Knee always provide as much information as possible in our private consultations, we are also aware that at times our clients would like some additional reading for themselves and even for their loved ones. With this in mind, we endeavour to present pertinent information relating to the orthopaedic work we do here in our online articles. Feel free to send any additional questions so that we can answer these in possible future articles and better equip you with additional information that will help bring you peace of mind. 

Two key terms often used in the medical field, especially when it comes to the treatment of joints, is Arthroplasty and Arthroscopy. At first introduction, these two terms may sound and read similarly and, understandably, many get them confused. In this article, we take a closer look at Arthroplasty vs Arthroscopy and what each procedure entails.

What is Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) is a less-invasive procedure involving a small incision which allows for the insertion of a specialised scope into your affected joint. The scope consists of a flexible fibre optic tube with a small camera on the end that transmits images to a monitor for surgeons to view. A second small incision allows for the insertion of small instruments that enables your orthopaedic surgeons to assess, diagnose and even treat some noted issues with your joints immediately. Arthroscopy is most frequently performed on knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, elbows and wrists.  Here at Cape Hip and Knee, we specialise in knee and hip arthroscopy.

Arthroscopy of the knee

A knee arthroscopy may be required when degenerative conditions or injuries to the cartilage (meniscus tear) cause movement disorders, such as locked knee. In such instances, the damaged tissue or loose cartilage needs removing. Minor chondral damage is also treatable with chondroplasty procedures. Procedures that assist with diagnosing, such as a biopsy looking for infection, can also be helpful in the management of a painful knee replacement.

Arthroscopy of the hip

Hip arthroscopy is useful as an alternative to major surgery to solve hip conditions and common hip injuries. These include the repair of a labral tear, which is the cartilage surrounding the hip socket and to resolve femoro-acetabular hip impingement (CAM and PINCER) which limits movement and is a cause of osteoarthritis. Arthroscopy of the hip is also performed to remove painful bone spurs, inflamed or diseased hip joint linings, and loose fragments of cartilage in the hip joint following an injury. A surgeon may also request an arthroscopy before a complex or revision hip surgery, to make a more accurate diagnosis and determine the best surgical approach; this is not as common, however.

>> You can read more about Hip Arthroscopy and Knee Arthroscopy on our website under the procedures tab, where a few frequently asked questions are also covered, such as,  “Do I need a Hip Arthroscopy?”, “What are the associated risks of a Hip Arthroscopy?”, “What will recovery be like after a Hip Arthroscopy?”.


Did You Know? We have a team dedicated to joint preservation. They perform a detailed analysis of the joints before exploring surgical options. We prefer to save your joint, rather than replace it, whenever possible.

What is Arthroplasty?

Arthroplasty is more commonly known as joint replacement surgery. In comparison to Arthroscopy, it is a more major open surgery involving the replacement of your joint with a replica artificial joint. By doing the surgery, we as hip and knee replacement specialists aim to relieve your joint pain and increase your range of movement, thereby helping to improve mobility. At Cape Hip and Knee, we offer Total Hip Replacement as well as Total Knee Replacement.

Hip Replacement

Arthritic damage is the most common reason to need a total hip replacement. Any of the following conditions could lead to the need for hip surgery: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteonecrosis.

Knee Replacement

Knee replacement procedures aim to relieve severe stiffness, pain and limitations in walking to improve the quality of your life. People who need knee replacement surgery usually have problems exercising, walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. Some also have knee pain at rest, especially at night.

>> You can read more about Total Hip Replacement and Total Knee Replacement on our website under the procedures tab, where a few frequently asked questions are also covered, such as, “How do you know you need a knee replacement?”, “What are the associated risks for hip replacement surgery?”, “What is the lifespan of the artificial joint following hip replacement surgery?”, and “What is the lifespan of an artificial joint?’.


So how do you know which procedure you need?

Here is where our top-ranked orthopaedic surgeons can assist you. Should you suffer from joint pain book a consult and meet with one of our orthopaedic specialists who will discuss your specific injury in greater detail. This consult can be done in person or online through several different tools including, video/voice calls, text and email. We have found that many concerns have been able to be addressed without the need for a face-to-face consult. Beyond the obvious convenience that this brings, a bonus is that the online consultation is charged out at a reduced consultation fee.

Following your online or face-to-face consultation, where applicable, the team will discuss the possible complications, risks, and surgical approaches specific to your case. Drawing on their collective expertise, they will decide on the best treatment option for you. If they recommend surgery, the benefits and risks of different surgical options may also be discussed. Their objective is to help you make an informed decision regarding your joint injury and possible treatment.

Book a consult and take the next step on your road to recovery.


What is the Difference Between Arthroplasty & Arthroscopy?