HIP FRACTURE SURGERY

The hip joint is a “ball and socket” joint. The “ball” is the head of the femur or thigh bone, and the “socket” is the cup-shaped acetabulum. The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular surface that allows pain-free movement in the joint.

Hip fracture is a break that occurs near the hip in the upper part of the femur or thigh bone. The thigh bone has two bony processes on the upper part - the greater and lesser trochanters. The lesser trochanter projects from the base of the femoral neck on the back of the thigh bone. Hip fractures can occur either due to a break in the femoral neck, in the area between the greater and lesser trochanter, or below the lesser trochanter.

Hip fracture is most frequently caused after minor trauma in elderly patients with weak bones, and by a high-energy trauma or serious injuries in young people. Long-term use of certain medicines, such as bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis (a disease-causing weak bones) and other bone diseases, increases the risk of hip fractures.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of hip fracture include:

  • Pain in the groin or outer upper thigh
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Discomfort while rotating the hip
  • Shortening of the injured leg
  • Outward or inward turning of the foot and knee of the injured leg
hip joint

Your doctor may order an X-ray to diagnose your hip fracture. Other imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging or (MRI), may also be performed to detect the fracture.

Depending on the area of the upper femur involved, hip fractures are classified as:

  • Intracapsular Fracture
  • Intertrochanteric Fracture
  • Subtrochanteric Fracture

Hip fractures can be corrected and aligned with non-operative and operative methods:

Traction may be an option to treat your condition if you are not fit for surgery. Skeletal traction may be applied under local anesthesia, where screws, pins, and wires are inserted into the femur, and a pulley system is set up at the end of the bed to bear heavyweights. These heavyweights help in correcting the misaligned bones until the injury heals.

Hip fractures can be surgically treated with external fixation, intramedullary fixation, or by using plates and screws.

AFTER SURGERY

After surgery, you will feel pain. This is completely normal and part of the healing process. Your doctor and nurses will work together to reduce your pain, this will help you recover faster.

Prior to you leaving the hospital your doctor will send a prescription to your pharmacy for some short-term pain relief after surgery. Your doctor may suggest multiple medications to help manage your pain, such as opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and local anesthetics. Your doctor will discuss which options or combinations would be best for you.

OPIOIDS

At MD West One, your health is always a top priority, which is why we are very passionate about getting you back to full activity in a safe and timely manner. We understand every patient is unique when it comes to pain management. A key component of a successful pain treatment plan includes weighing all risks and benefits to find the pain treatment plan that best fits you.

A high risk of dependence and overdose is associated with the use of opioids. To avoid this from accruing our agreement with you: 

  1. You should take all medications as ordered by your provider. If you take the medication in excess of what is prescribed and run out of the medication prior to the refill date, the refill will not be authorized early.
  2. If you are requiring a refill of your prescription please call during regular business hours. Our providers will not refill any pain medications over the weekend, holidays, or after clinic hours. 
  3. Make sure to tell your physician or nurse which medications you are taking, including herbal remedies, since narcotic medications can interact with over-the-counter medications and other prescribed medications, especially cough syrups that contain alcohol, codeine, or hydrocodone.
  4. Alteration of any written prescription, sharing, trading, or selling your medication is a federal offense and will be reported.
  5. You are responsible for keeping your pain medication in a safe and secure place, such as a locked cabinet or safe. Stolen medications should be reported to the police and to your physician immediately.
  6. If your medications are lost, misplaced, or stolen, your physician may choose not to replace the medications or to taper and discontinue the medications.

Don't wait any longer to get relief. Make an appointment to see one of our orthopedic specialists. 

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AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ORTHOPEDIC SURGEONS

This article has been written and peer-reviewed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.