Outcomes after early return to theatre following hip hemiarthroplasty for intracapsular fracture of the femoral neck

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Hip hemiarthroplasty is a standard treatment for intracapsular proximal femoral fractures in the frail elderly. In this study we have explored the implications of early return to theatre, within 30 days, on patient outcome following hip hemiarthroplasty.

Patients and Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the hospital records of all hip hemiarthroplasties performed in our unit between January 2010 and January 2015. Demographic details, medical backround, details of the primary procedure, complications, subsequent procedures requiring return to theatre, re-admissions, discharge destination and death were collected.


A total of 705 procedures were included; 428 Austin Moore and 277 Exeter Trauma Stems were used. A total of 34 fractures (in 33 patients) required early return to theatre within 30 days. Age, gender, laterality, time from admission to primary procedure, American Society of Anesthesiologists grade, and implant type were similar for those requiring early return to theatre and those who did not. Early return to theatre was associated with a significantly higher length of stay (mean 33.6 days (7 to 107)versus18.6 days (0 to 152), p < 0.001), re-admission rate (38.2%versus8.6%, p < 0.001), and subsequent revision rate (17.6%versus1.3%, p < 0.001). We found no difference in level of care required on discharge or mortality.


Proximal femoral fractures are common in the elderly population, with far-reaching medical and economic implications. Factors such as infection or dislocation may require early return to theatre, and this is associated with outcomes which may be both medically and economically detrimental. This illustrates the importance of avoiding early complications to improve longer term outcome.


Return to theatre within 30 days is associated with longer length of stay, higher re-admission rate, and higher subsequent revision rate. It may be a useful short-term quality indicator for longer term outcome measures following hip hemiarthroplasty for intracapsular fractures of the proximal femur.

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