What Is Femoral Neck Fracture?
It is a well known fact that bones in the elderly population are quite fragile and are at increased risk for developing various forms of fractures. One such fracture which is quite common in the elderly population is the Femoral Neck Fracture. This fracture may be quite common in the elderly but it may render the individual disabled and virtually dependent on others. It may take many months for people to recuperate from this type of injury and resultant fracture and people require prolonged rehabilitation which may stretch to several months. Since such people are mostly confined to their beds they become prone to other infections and pressure sores from prolonged lying in bed. Studies reflect that more than 100,000 people of which most are elderly sustain Femoral Neck Fracture requiring prolonged hospitalization. They are usually caused due to a fall. To understand Femoral Neck Fracture, it is vital to understand the anatomy of the femoral bone. The femoral bone is attached to the hip bone in a ball and socket fashion. When Femoral Neck Fracture occurs then it is often treated with a procedure called as hemiarthroplasty in which the femoral neck is replaced by prosthesis.
What Causes Femoral Neck Fracture?
The main cause of Femoral Neck Fracture is a medical condition called Osteoporosis which causes the bones to become thin and weak due to loss of bone mass. This condition is quite common in the elderly population, specifically females, and hence they are more prone to fractures even due to minor injuries or falls. Talking about the younger generation, Femoral Neck Fracture can be caused due to a motor vehicle crash or a sporting injury like rugby or other contact sports. A spontaneous fracture in this area can occur in cases of carcinomas and is known by the name of pathologic fractures.
What Is The Classification Of A Femoral Neck Fracture?
Femoral Neck Fracture has been classified into four parts which are mentioned below:
Stage I Fracture of Femoral Neck: This type of femoral neck fracture is incomplete and nondisplaced.
Stage II Fracture of Femoral Neck: These types of femoral neck fracture is nondisplaced but are complete.
Stage III Fracture of Femoral Neck: These types of fractures are complete and minimally displaced femoral neck fracture.
Stage IV Fracture of Femoral Neck: These type of fractures are complete fractures which are totally displaced femoral neck fracture.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Femoral Neck Fracture?
Some of the symptoms which may point to a Femoral Neck Fracture are:
- Severe pain in and around the hip area.
- Extreme difficulty with ambulation.
How Is Femoral Neck Fracture Diagnosed?
A confirmatory diagnosis of a Femoral Neck Fracture can be made by radiologic studies in the form of x-rays of the hip region. In case x-rays do not produce a clear image and the fracture is not clearly evident than more accurate studies like a CT scan may also be done to confirm the presence of fracture. In cases where fractures occur spontaneously due to underlying medical conditions like cancer then a bone scan will have to be done in order to check the status of the bone.
How Is Femoral Neck Fracture Treated?
To begin with, the affected leg will be put in such a position so that the leg does not move much causing the fracture to get displaced. Next thing to be done is to give the patient pain medications to control pain. Now, the treating physician will take a decision as to how to approach to treat the fracture. If the patient stays alone and does not have enough support then the patient may have to be sent to extended care facility after treatment since most of the patients are elderly and due to this fracture they would need an aide for support.
The best way to treat Femoral Neck Fracture is with surgical fixation. The procedure done may be a hemiarthroplasty in which femoral neck is replaced by prosthesis. In some cases a total hip replacement may need to be done. In total hip replacement, both the acetabulum and the femur are replaced by prosthesis. Before a surgery is performed, a complete preoperative history and physical is conducted of the patient along with blood tests and EKG to look at the cardiac status and whether the patient will be able to tolerate the procedure.
Postprocedure the patient will need extensive rehabilitation and will take quite a few months before recovery can be anticipated. Just like any other surgery, surgery for Femoral Neck Fracture also has its own inherent complications. Some of the complications of surgery for Femoral Neck Fracture are fracture nonunion, avascular necrosis (AVN), and arthritis. In case if there is development of avascular necrosis then further procedures may be required. If prosthesis is used to correct the fracture then there is always the complication of failure of prosthesis and at times dislocation. Once the patient is through with treatment and rehabilitation and has regained some stability and movement of the joint then the patient is recommended to seek active treatment for osteoporosis which is the main cause of Femoral Neck Fracture. If the patient is taken care of well, then there is every chance that the patient will recover completely from Femoral Neck Fracture.
Preventative Strategies To Avoid Femoral Neck Fractures
Since Femoral Neck Fracture is mostly seen in the elderly population, it is vital that they follow certain precautions so as to avoid sustaining a Femoral Neck Fracture. The very first step towards this is to prevent development of osteoporosis which can be done by intake of adequate calcium and vitamin D to make the bones strong and indulging in light exercises to stay fit and healthy. Also it should be made sure that such people avoid stairs without handrails to avoid falls which may break the hip and if required use an assistive device for ambulation. It is also vital to stay away from medications that may cause drowsiness during the day which may affect the way a person walks.
It should be noted here that a person who has sustained a Femoral Neck Fracture needs as much as can be given after treatment for complete recovery. The speed of recovery can be made faster by early ambulation and diligent exercises for which support is required. If the patient gets all this then there is no reason why that patient will not be able to recover fully from Femoral Neck Fracture and continue with their normal life.
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