Hip fracture surgery

Definition

Hip fracture surgery is done to repair a break in the upper part of the thigh bone. The thigh bone is called the femur. It is part of the hip joint.

See also: Hip pain

Alternative Names

Inter-trochanteric fracture repair; Subtrochanteric fracture repair; Femoral neck fracture repair; Trochanteric fracture repair; Hip pinning surgery

Description

You may receive general anesthesia before this surgery. This means you will be unconscious and unable to feel pain. You may have spinal anesthesia. With this kind of anesthesia, medicine is put into your back to make you numb below your waist.

The type of surgery you have depends on the kind of fracture you have.

If your fracture is in the neck of the femur (the part just below the top of the bone) you may have a hip pinning procedure. During this surgery:

If you have an intertrochanteric fracture (the area below the femur neck), your surgeon will use a special metal plate and special compression screws to repair it. Often more than one piece of bone is broken in this type of fracture. During this surgery:

Your surgeon may perform a partial hip replacement (hemiarthroplasty) if there is concern that your hip will not heal well using one of the procedures above. Hemiarthroplasty replaces the ball part of your hip joint.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

If a hip fracture is not treated, you may need to stay in a chair or bed. This can lead to life-threatening medical problems, especially if you are older. Because such serious problems can develop, surgery to fix the fracture is often recommended.

Risks

Following are risks of surgery:

Before the Procedure

You will likely be admitted to the hospital because of a hip fracture. You probably will not be able to put any weight on your leg or get out of bed.

Tell your doctor or nurse what medicines you are taking. This includes medicines, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.

On the day of the surgery:

After the Procedure

You will stay in the hospital for 3 - 5 days. Full recovery will take from 2 - 3 months to a year.

After surgery:

You will be encouraged to start moving and walking as soon as the first day after surgery. Most of the problems that develop after hip fracture surgery can be prevented by getting out of bed and walking as soon as possible.

You will be able to go home when:

Follow any instructions you are given about how to care for yourself at home.

Some people need a short stay in a rehabilitation center after they leave the hospital and before they go home. At a rehab center, you will learn how to safely do your daily activities on your own.

You might need to use crutches or a walker for a few weeks or months after surgery.

Outlook (Prognosis)

You will do better if you get out of bed and start moving as soon as you can after your surgery. Health problems that develop after this surgery are often caused by being inactive.

Your doctor and nurse will help you decide whether it is safe for you to go home after you have had this surgery to repair your hip fracture.

References

Butler M, Forte M, Kane RL, et al. Treatment of common hip fractures. Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep). 2009 Aug;(184):1-85, v.

LaVelle DG. Fractures and dislocations of the hip. In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell'sOperative Orthoaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2007:chap 52. 

Simunovic N, Devereaux PJ, Sprague S, et al. Effect of early surgery after hip fracture on mortality and complications: systematic review and meta-analysis. CMAJ. 2010 Oct 19;182(15):1609-16.


Review Date: 11/15/2012
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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