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Hip Fracture ORIF

What is a Hip Fracture?

A hip fracture is a break that occurs near the hip in the upper part of the femur or thighbone. The thighbone 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 thighbone. 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.

What does ORIF mean?

Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is a surgical technique employed for the treatment of a fracture to restore normal anatomy and improve range of motion and function.

Anatomy

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.  It enables the upper leg to bend and rotate at the pelvis. The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular surface that allows pain-free movement in the joint.

Causes of Hip Fractures

Hip fractures are most frequently caused after minor trauma in elderly patients with weak bones and by high-energy trauma or serious injuries in the young. 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 of Hip Fractures

The signs and symptoms of hip fractures include:

Diagnosis

Most often your physician can determine that you have sustained a hip fracture based on the abnormal position of your hip and leg and your symptoms. Your physician normally will order an X-ray to confirm the fracture and its position. If the X-ray fails to reveal the fracture, then an MRI or bone scan may be ordered to confirm the presence of a hairline fracture.

Preparation for ORIF Surgery

Since ORIF is often employed to treat severe fractures, it typically takes place as an emergency procedure. Prior to surgery, you may have:

Treatment for Hip Fractures

Open reduction and internal fixation is a procedure most commonly used to treat severe hip fractures.

The surgery is performed under sterile conditions in the operating room under general anesthesia.

Postoperative Care

Post procedure, you may notice significant pain and pain medication will be prescribed by your physician to keep you comfortable. You may need to take a blood thinner to prevent blood clots. To ensure that the surgery was successful, you will probably have X-rays done.

You will be given instructions on weight-bearing activities and posture management. You will be instructed about dressing and incision care. You will also be advised on diet and supplements high in vitamin D and calcium to promote bone healing. Physical therapy and an exercise regimen are suggested to restore muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion.

Depending on your health condition and the extent of the injury, you may be able to go home the same day with scheduled follow-up appointments for monitoring progress and stitches or staples removal if required. Most people return to their normal activities within 4 to 6 months of the surgery.

Risks and Complications of Hip Fracture ORIF

As with any surgery, some of the potential risks and complications of open reduction and internal fixation of a hip fracture include:

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