Salvage of Failed Hip Fracture Fixation

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Nonunion of fractures about the femoral neck and intertrochanteric hip regions is uncommon. Patients who develop nonunions of these fractures typically exhibit marked pain and disability, thereby presenting a treatment challenge to the orthopaedic surgeon. Factors that guide the choice of salvage treatment include the anatomic site of the nonunion, the quality of the remaining proximal bone and articular surface, and patient factors (such as age and activity level). In the younger patients with a well-preserved hip joint, treatment typically involves revision internal fixation with or without osteotomy or bone grafting. However, in older patients, it is more common to encounter poor remaining proximal bone stock or a badly damaged hip joint from hardware cutout. As such, conversion to hip arthroplasty is intended to help effectively restore function and relieve pain. With respect to salvage procedures for the femoral head, the major challenges in decision making include the choice of both internal fixation device and accurate preoperative planning. The challenges involved in planning to convert to hip arthroplasty include the need for acetabular resurfacing, selecting the femoral implant, and managing discontinuity of the greater trochanter. Furthermore, there are additional technical challenges that may be encountered, such as broken hardware, deformity, and femoral bone defects. Overall, salvage of nonunions of femoral neck and intertrochanteric hip fractures in properly selected patients can provide patients with good to excellent results.

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