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Injury. 2008 Jul;39(7):791-5. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2008.01.011. Epub 2008 Apr 14.

Fixation versus hemiarthroplasty for undisplaced intracapsular hip fractures.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Peterborough & Stamford NHS Foundation Trust, Peterborough District Hospital, Thorpe Road, Peterborough, United Kingdom.


The conventional treatment for an undisplaced intracapsular hip fracture is internal fixation. A possible alternative treatment is replacement hemiarthroplasty. We have compared the outcomes of an age, sex and co-morbidity matched cohort of 346 patients who have had their undisplaced intracapsular hip fracture treated using cannulated screws with a group of 346 patients who have had a displaced intracapsular fracture treated using a hemiarthroplasty. Patients treated by internal fixation had a shorter operation time (43 versus 67 min), reduced orthopaedic ward stay (11 versus 15 days), lower incidence of peri-operative complications (24 versus 81), and a lower 1-year mortality (19% versus 26%). Additional benefits for the fixation group were less pain at 1 year, less reduction in mobility and lower dependence on walking aids. All these differences were statistically significant. Hemiarthroplasty had a lower re-admission rate (43 versus 14 cases) and re-operation rate (59 versus 22 cases). These results support the use of internal fixation for undisplaced intracapsular fractures and confirm that the final outcome for an undisplaced intracapsular hip fracture is significantly better than for a displaced intracapsular fracture, despite a higher re-operation rate after internal fixation.

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