The mini-incision posterior approach may appeal to surgeons comfortable with the standard posterior approach to the hip. We present the first systematic review and meta-analysis of these two approaches. Twelve randomised controlled trials and four non-randomised trials comprising of 1498 total hip arthroplasties were included. The mini-incision posterior approach was associated with an early improvement in Harris hip score of 1.8 points (P<0.001), reduced operating time (5minutes, P<0.001), length of hospital stay (14hours, P<0.001), intraoperative and total blood loss (63ml, P<0.001 and 119ml, P<0.001 respectively). There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence of dislocation, nerve injury, infection or venous thromboembolic events. The minimally invasive posterior approach appears to provide a safe and acceptable alternative to the standard incision posterior approach.