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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2013 May;95(4):271-4. doi: 10.1308/003588413X13511609958334.

Complications following hemiarthroplasty for displaced intracapsular femoral neck fractures in the absence of routine follow-up.

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  • 1Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, UK.



Hemiarthroplasty is the most commonly performed surgery for displaced intracapsular femoral neck fractures. At present, it is not routine practice to follow up these patients despite the risk of all the complications associated with arthroplasty. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and nature of complications occurring following hemiarthroplasty that re-presented to this centre in the absence of routine postoperative follow-up.


Consecutive patients undergoing uncemented hip hemiarthroplasty for displaced intracapsular femoral neck fractures at a district general hospital between 2004 and 2009 were identified. Data were collected from the hospital database on all complications relating to the index procedure, further surgery performed and mortality.


There were 490 hemiarthroplasties performed in 477 patients (mean age: 80 years, 75% female). Of these, 110 (22%) were referred postoperatively for specialist orthopaedic review. The prevalence of any complication following hemiarthroplasty was 12% (n=59) and the prevalence of hemiarthroplasty failure was 8% (n=40). The most common indications for failure were periprosthetic fracture (28%), aseptic femoral loosening (25%) and unexplained pain (25%). Persistent hip pain and poor mobility accounted for most complications not requiring further surgery (n=15). The mortality rate within 30 days and 1 year of hemiarthroplasty was 6% (n=31) and 29% (n=146) respectively.


In the absence of routine follow-up, complications were encountered frequently in patients undergoing hip hemiarthroplasty, with most requiring further surgery. Appropriate services should be implemented to allow timely referral for orthopaedic assessment, and enable the early identification and treatment of postoperative complications.

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