Fractures of the hip are devastating injuries. These injuries encompass a variety of different fractures that all involve a fracture through the upper part of the femur bone and cause the “ball” part of the ball-and-socket hip joint to become mechanically separated from the remainder of the leg. Walking on the leg is impossible and moving the leg causes significant pain.
In almost all instances, operative treatment of the injury is advocated. This is because the risks of surgery (bearing in mind the frail nature of many people who sustain this injury) are significantly less than the risks associated with long term bed rest in traction.
Surgery for hip fractures varies based on the pattern of the fracture itself as well as the patients age, health, mobility and functional demands. In general, fractures are fixed wherever this possible, otherwise a hip replacement of some form is performed. This is either a total hip replacement (indistinguishable from that which is used to treat hip arthritis) or a half hip replacement (a “hemiarthroplasty”) is performed.
Regardless of the surgical procedure performed, the goal of the surgery is to allow immediate full weight bearing through the injured leg. Surgery allows for tasks such as bathing and toileting to be performed much more easily and with less pain and decreases the significant risks associated with prolonged bed rest (pressure sores, DVT / PE, pneumonia, food and water aspiration).
Dr Doneley is a specialist arthroplasty surgeon with considerable interest in minimally invasive hip replacement surgery and minimises trauma associated with surgery to the femur and hip region. He performs a high volume of hip fracture surgery.