Acta Orthopaedica, 90:1, 21-25, DOI: 10.1080/17453674.2018.1558380

High rate of reoperation and conversion to total hip arthroplasty after internal fixation of young femoral neck fractures: a population-based study of 796 patients

David J Stockton, Lyndsay M O’Hara, Nathan N O’Hara, Kelly A Lefaivre, Peter J O’Brien & Gerard P Slobogean

Background and purpose — Most often, the goal of non-geriatric femoral neck fracture surgery is to preserve the native hip joint. However, reoperations for painful implants, osteonecrosis, and nonunion are common. We determined the reoperation rate and time-to-reoperation following internal fixation of these fractures in a large population cohort.

Patients and methods — This retrospective cohort study included patients between the ages of 18 and 50 years old who underwent internal fixation for a femoral neck fracture during 1997–2013. Patients were followed until December 2013. Primary outcomes were reoperation rate and time-to-reoperation. Time-to-event analysis was performed to estimate the rate of any reoperation and for THA specifically, while testing the dependency of time-to-reoperation on secondary variables.

Results — 796 young femoral neck fracture patients were treated with internal fixation during the study period (median age 43 years, 39% women). Median follow-up was 8 years (IQR 4–13). One-third underwent at least 1 reoperation at a median 16 months after the index surgery (IQR 8–31). Half of reoperations were for implant removal, followed by conversion to total hip arthroplasty. 14% of the cohort were converted to THA. The median time to conversion was 2 years (IQR 1–4). Neither female sex nor older age had a statistically significant effect on time-to-reoperation or time-to-THA conversion.

Interpretation — Following internal fixation of young femoral neck fracture, 1 in 3 patients required a reoperation, and 1 in 7 were converted to THA. These data should be considered by patients and surgeons during treatment decision-making.

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