Hip fracture surgery is a surgical treatment that can repair a broken hip after an injury. This article will discuss what a hip fracture surgery involves so that you can know what to expect.
What is a hip fracture?
Hip fractures are common injuries that can cause a great deal of pain after a serious fall or accident. They most frequently occur among older adults who are more likely to suffer from conditions like osteoporosis that lead to weaker bones. While older adults and those with osteoporosis are the most likely to experience hip fractures, young people can also suffer hip fractures from accidents or sports injuries.
Some people can even suffer stress fractures if they are involved in high-impact or athletic activities that put repetitive strain on the bone structures in the hip.
The hip is composed of a ball and socket joint that normally allows smooth movements. The ball of the joint is the femoral head that sits in the socket, or the acetabulum in the pelvis. After a bad fall or in an accident, different parts of the femoral head and neck can break. Most hip fractures occur at the femoral neck or further down in the intertrochanteric region, which forms the bony extension of the femur. Very occasionally, the femoral head itself can break.
When one of these areas of the hip suffers a fracture, there is typically severe, acute pain in the groin, hip, or upper thigh area. Most people are not able to put weight on the affected leg and struggle to move around.
To diagnose a hip fracture, an orthopaedic specialist will typically first examine the injured hip for signs of bruising, swelling, or other damage to the leg. The specialist will also likely order an X-ray of the injured hip to identify the exact location of the fracture. In some cases, they may also order an MRI or CT scan to evaluate any damage to surrounding soft tissue or smaller fractures.
If you suspect that you’ve suffered a hip fracture, it’s important to seek medical care right away to avoid further injury or complication.
What does hip fracture surgery involve?
Because of the severe pain and debilitation a hip fracture often involves, surgical treatment is often required to repair a fractured hip. For best results, patients who can medically undergo surgery should do so as soon as possible to avoid further complications and repair the damaged bone.
Hip fracture surgery can take several different forms depending on the location and severity of the break. The most common surgical treatments include
Repair with screws and plates
To repair a hip fracture, an orthopaedic surgeon will often secure the fractured bone in its original place with pins or screws to allow the bone to heal and to prevent further fracturing or dislocation of the ball from the socket. In the case of an intertrochanteric fracture, the surgeon may include a hip compression screw and an additional side plate that extends down the side of the femur to further secure the hip in place.
Partial or total hip replacement
If the fracture affects the integrity of the joint, a partial or total hip replacement may be necessary. During a hip replacement, the original ball and socket of the hip joint are replaced with artificial components to restore normal functioning of the hip. In some cases, particularly among the elderly or those with other conditions, a partial hip replacement is recommended. In this procedure, only the ball of the hip joint is removed and replaced, not the socket in the pelvis.
An orthopaedic surgeon will determine which procedure or treatment is the best fit for you based on your individual case.
What does recovery from hip fracture surgery look like?
Recovery from hip surgery often involves a period of rehabilitation to restore mobility and functioning of the hip. A doctor may prescribe pain medications to help manage post-surgical pain or recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medication. Physical therapy exercises are often also recommended to help stretch and strengthen the affected hip.
Total recovery time depends on the location and severity of the hip fracture and the type of surgery undergone. The nature of recovery also depends on the condition of the patient. Older patients may require more extensive rehabilitation or assistance, as well as those who have suffered additional injuries during the fall or accident.
Hip fracture surgery at Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants
Hip fractures can be painful and can lead to serious complications if not promptly treated. Our team of orthopaedic specialists and surgeons are prepared to offer high-quality care to help you or a loved one recover from a debilitating hip fracture.
Only a doctor can tell you if you have this ailment. This is for informational purposes and should not be used in lieu of a doctor’s opinion.