Hoffa Fragments in the Geriatric Distal Femur Fracture: Myth or Reality?

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Previous research reported the frequency of coronal plane (Hoffa) fractures in high-energy supracondylar femur fractures in a relatively young population. It is the purpose of this study to identify the frequency of coronal plane fractures seen in elderly patients.


All patients over the age of 18 years treated for supracondylar femur fractures at 2 level I trauma centers were reviewed over a 4-year period. The patients were stratified (≥60 years and <60 years) and compared to determine differences in injury characteristics and fracture patterns with special attention to the prevalence of coronal plane fractures.


One hundred ten patients were identified with supracondylar femur fractures (12 Orthopaedic Trauma Association [OTA] 33A; 2 OTA 33B; 96 OTA 33C). Thirty-two of the 96 intercondylar fractures were in patients >60 years of age. The elderly group included a higher percentage of females (81% vs 36%, P = .0001) and was more likely to sustain their injury due to a fall (59% vs 19%, P = .0001). Coronal plane fractures were visualized on computed tomography scans in 56 (58%) of the 96 33C femur fractures. Forty-four percent of elderly patients sustained a coronal plane fracture compared with 66% of the younger cohort (P = .04). The percentage of open fractures (30% elderly vs 46%) was not significantly different between the 2 groups (P = .17).


The occurrence rate of 44% in this study was higher than expected and is the first to provide this information in the elderly patients on this fracture. It is important that a high index of suspicion be maintained for the Hoffa fracture in all distal femur fractures, regardless of age or mechanism of injury.

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