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Broken Hip Hospital Stay

A broken hip, more properly called a fractured neck of femur in medical terms, is a common and important fracture of the upper thigh bone mostly suffered by elderly people. The age of our population is rising which means a large increase in the number of older people who have reductions in their bone density and osteoporosis.

Falls are the main reason for this fracture and it is important because a significant proportion of sufferers die during the succeeding six months. Sometimes a trivial event such as a sudden twist or a small jar on a step may be enough to cause the fracture. Broken hip symptoms include pain around the hip and groin, loss of ability to weight bear on the leg and an outwardly turned and shortened leg.

Broken hip therapy mostly consists of surgery to the fracture, either to replace it or fix it securely. Broken hip surgery depends on the location of the fracture, high fractures being replaced due to the risk of the blood supply to the head, using a hemiarthroplasty such as the Austin Moore. Higher fractures are fixed using a dynamic hip screw or DHS, although other fixation types are used.

Broken hip recovery time varies greatly with the patient, as does the length of the hospital stay, and the most important aspects are age and other medical issues. A younger patient may have to hop for three months to allow healing but they will be mobilised quickly with the physiotherapist and discharged home after a few days.

For an elderly person with medical issues broken hip recovery will be much longer, perhaps weeks of hospital stay followed by a place in a nursing or residential home, with little expectation of regaining function they had pre-operatively.

Further information is available from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and a recent survey reported in BBC Health.


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