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When Does a Hip Fracture Require Surgery?

Each year in the United States, 300,000 adults over the age of 65 end up in the hospital with hip fractures, and this number is expected to rise thanks to an aging population. To retain your mobility and prevent more problems down the road, surgery is often the best treatment avenue for preserving your joint.

At Western Orthopaedics, Dr. Brian White specializes in hips, and he understands the perils of hip fractures that aren’t treated properly. Given all that they’re responsible for, it’s imperative to restore your fractured hip in a way that still enables mobility and support, which Dr. White often accomplishes through surgery.

Here’s a look at when surgery is your best option after a hip fracture.

Anatomy of a hip fracture

Before we get into surgical solutions for hip fractures, let’s first quickly review the anatomy of your hip joints. Your hips are large ball-and-socket joints that connect your legs to your pelvis. More specifically, your femur (thighbone) features a femoral head at the top, which fits neatly into your acetabulum, the socket that’s located in your pelvis.

When you fracture your hip, it usually involves the top of your femur. Fractures almost always occur as a result of a fall, especially to the side, and your risks increase with age as you become unsteady on your feet.

Women outpace men by quite a bit, as 75% of hip fractures occur in women, and one in seven women will experience a hip fracture. One of the primary reasons behind the gender disparity is that women suffer more bone loss after they transition through menopause. As well, women’s bones are smaller and more prone to fracture.

When a hip fracture requires surgery

While there’s no absolute, a hip fracture almost always requires surgery in order to restore your function. Your hips are not only significant weight-bearing joints, but they also power your mobility. So to maintain these functions, it’s important that we repair the joint properly.

If you fracture your hip, Dr. White first assesses the damage using advanced imaging technology, such as an X-ray, CAT scan, or MRI. Once he has a better idea of the degree and location of the fracture, he devises a plan that will best serve your needs.

In some cases, he may use metal rods or bone grafts to restore strength to your bone. If the damage is great, he may recommend a total hip replacement, in which he supplies you with an artificial femoral head and a new socket.

The work you do after your surgery through physical therapy is important in preserving function, so we urge you to follow Dr. White’s instructions to get the best out of your recovery.

If you’d like to learn more about your treatment options for a hip fracture, please contact one of our two offices in Arvada or Denver, Colorado, to set up a consultation with Dr. White.

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