The femur (also known as the thigh bone) is the largest and strongest bone in the body. In healthy individuals, breaks and fractures to the femoral bone are typically the result of blunt force trauma, most commonly from the forceful impact sustained during a serious car accident. When the bones are weakened by age or an illness, like bone tumors, they become more susceptible to fractures and breaks with less force.
Anatomy of the Femur
At the top of the bone (proximal), the femur connects to the hip and pelvis. The shaft is the long middle portion of the thigh bone, and the distal (bottom) connects to the knee joint. The proximal femur consists of several bones, blood vessels, and a head and neck that connect to the hip joint. The head connects to the acetabulum in the pelvis, and the neck connects the head of the femur to the shaft, which facilitates range of motion in the hip joint.
Proximal Femoral (Hip) Fractures
Although most common in older adults, usually as a result of the progressive wear and tear and degeneration of bone and joint structures typical of osteoarthritis, anyone can suffer a hip fracture due to an accident, traumatic injury, or illness that weakens the bones of the hip joint, such as bone sarcomas or metastatic cancer. Women have wider pelvic bones, which are generally more susceptible to hip fractures than men.
Due to the complexity of the proximal femur and the hip joint, the severity of a fracture and the type of reconstruction procedure that will be necessary to repair it depends on where the fracture occurs. For example, with a network of vessels supplying blood to the head of the proximal femur, a break that results in the disruption of the blood flow could lead to devascularization (poor circulation) if not diagnosed and treated promptly. Prolonged lack of blood flow results in osteonecrosis (bone death).
Devascularization occurs through a break in the neck of the proximal femur. To avoid potentially serious complications, it is very important for any suspected hip fractures to be examined by an orthopedic surgeon and hip specialist for an accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment.
Types of proximal femoral fractures:
Femoral Neck fracture
- basic cervical fracture
- transcervical fracture
- subcapital fracture
Femoral head fracture (this type does not typically disrupt blood flow)
Bisphosphonate-related proximal femoral fractures
Depending on the extent of the injury to the hip joint, arthroplasty or hip replacement surgery has been the standard treatment to help relieve pain and maintain or restore mobility to a damaged or fractured hip joint. Using a prosthetic implant, Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon Dr. Allison can either perform a total hip replacement, or a half (hemi) hip replacement.
In cases where complications arise from the first surgery, or the prosthetic implant becomes loose, damaged, or subject to wear and tear over time, it is sometimes necessary to perform a second, or revision surgery to repair the prosthetic, or replace it with a new one.
Dr. Allison and a team of surgeons are currently developing a state of the art, minimally invasive femoral stem for total hip arthroplasty procedures.
Orthopedic Oncologist in Beverly Hills
To learn more about proximal femoral fractures and hip injury and pain treatment and recovery, or for a second opinion on a previous diagnosis or unsuccessful treatment, contact board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel C. Allison at (310) 730-8008 to schedule a consultation today.
Next, read Peri-Acetabular Reconstruction