Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hip FAQ

Question:

My 82-year old father is in an assisted living center. He was hospitalized two days ago for a broken hip bone. I guess it's what's called a displaced femoral fracture. He's had three specialists consult on the case. They can't seem to decide what's the best way to treat the problem. Is this unusual? Should we move him to a different hospital?

Answer:

A displaced fracture of the femur (thigh bone) means the bone broke and the two ends either separated or shifted. In other words, the broken pieces of the bone don't line up anymore.

Femoral fractures are very common in the United States, especially with the aging of America. The type of fracture you're describing can cause quite a bit of disability for the patient. Some patients are unable to get back to their former level of function. They may have to give up independent living. They may go from being able to walk to being confined to a wheelchair.

he goal of treatment is always to get the patient back to a prefracture level of function. Treatment is usually an operation to repair or replace the bone. Repair may be done using screws to hold the two ends of bone together until healing takes place. This is called internal fixation. It may be necessary to replace part or all of the hip joint.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right treatment. The patient's age, bone density, mental status, and other health issues are important. Most likely the doctors are meeting to confer on which treatment would give your father the best chance for recovery based on his individual factors.
William L. Healy, MD, and Richar Iorio, MD. Total Hip Arthroplasty. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. December 2004. Vol. 429. Pp. 43-48.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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