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Alcohol Alcohol. 1998 Jul-Aug;33(4):373-80.

Alcohol abuse and healing complications after cervical hip fractures.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Malmö University Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.


Osteonecrosis of the femoral head following femoral neck fractures is a common condition. Spontaneous osteonecrosis, is, however, a rare disorder, which is observed with increased frequency in alcohol abusers. In this retrospective study, we followed 512 consecutive male patients who had sustained femoral neck fractures between 1984 and 1992; 82 of these 512 patients (16%) had earlier been registered at the Department of Alcohol Diseases as high consumers of alcohol. The aim of the study was to determine the relationship between the rate of healing complications and alcohol consumption. No differences were observed in the degree of fracture dislocation, frequency of femoral head necrosis, and pseudoarthrosis among the abusers. Furthermore, no differences were found in causative events, primary operative treatment, post-operative complications, and the number of secondary operations. The abusers were significantly younger, had a higher rate of early retirement, and had an increased death rate. Our study suggests that alcohol complicates the healing process to a lesser extent than earlier thought, and that osteonecrosis of the femoral head after femoral neck fractures is equally common in non-abusers as in abusers.

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