What is Hip Fracture Surgery?

Hip fracture surgery is performed to treat a broken hip. Fractures can more easily occur as we age because bones become thinner and weaker over time. As a result, older individuals are most susceptible to hip fractures, which often occur as the result of falls.

Hip fractures typically occur on the ball of the hip joint, called the femoral head. Types of hip ball fractures include:

  • Femoral neck fractures, which occur on the upper end of the femur (thigh bone). The femoral neck is located just beneath the hip ball.
  • Trochanteric hip fractures, which occur on a bony bump beneath the femoral neck.
Although hip socket (acetabulum) fractures are possible, they are less common.

Hip fractures are painful and may make it difficult to stand or walk. If left untreated, patients may be confined to bed rest, which can itself lead to further complications, including muscle weakening, pneumonia, and bedsores. Treatment for hip fractures aims to relieve pain and allow patients to return to their normal routines.

Non-surgical treatment of hip fractures, called closed reduction, requires no incisions. A closed reduction is typically performed for patients under five, those who cannot undergo surgery due to illness, and for fractures that are stable and may heal within days. Most often, surgery is recommended. Hip fracture surgery often entails one of the following procedures:

  • Hip replacement, which can be partial or total. In this procedure, your surgeon replaces the damaged hip with artificial components, or prostheses.
  • Open reduction, which is often performed with internal fixation (ORIF). To perform ORIF, your doctor will make an incision to expose the fracture and then move the bones back into proper position. Screws, pins, or plates - types of internal fixators - will be used to keep the bones in place.

Following surgery, you may stay in the hospital for a few days or weeks. Additionally, you may need crutches or a walker after your procedure, and your doctor may recommend limiting movement to avoid another hip injury. Physical therapy can help you to avoid complications and return to normal activity.

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