Surgery for a hip fracture repairs a broken hip bone. Broken hips are often caused by a fall or other injury. Some kinds of broken bones heal on their own in a cast. But a broken hip is not likely to heal well without surgery.
The doctor makes one or two cuts over the broken bone in your hip. These cuts are called incisions. Then the doctor moves the pieces of bone back into the right position. The doctor uses metal pins, screws, rods, or plates to hold the pieces together while the bone heals. During the surgery, the doctor may use X-rays to see if the pins and plate are in the correct place. After the pieces of bone are lined up, the doctor stitches or staples the incision closed. The incisions leave scars that fade with time.
You will probably stay in the hospital for 2 to 4 days. Your rehabilitation program (rehab) starts when you are still in the hospital. It continues for 6 months or more after surgery. It will take at least 3 months before you can go back to your regular activities. How much time you need will depend on your condition and rehab program.
If you don't have someone to help you at home, you may go from the hospital to a short-term rehabilitation centre or a long-term care centre. For several months, you may need the help of a walker or crutches. After that, you may need to walk with a cane.
Rehab can help you recover more quickly, but it may take 6 months to 1 year for you to fully recover. Some people, especially older people, are never able to move quite as well as they used to. Most people can go back to work in 4 weeks to 4 months. This depends on your condition and the type of job you have.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
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