Thighbone fracture

socksNovember 28, 2006

Anyone here had a femur fracture? If so, what was your treatment? Surgery?

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I cannot over stress the importance of having a highly skilled orthopedic surgeon to "repair" the femur bone to avoid lifetime of disabled gait and pain.

My DG did...his was from just below his new hip, shearing off toward the outside of the femur (thighbone)right above the knee. According to his surgeon it was a BIG operation; he put in an 18" steel plate, same # of screws with wire wrapped around the whole thing. This happened 7 years ago
at age 62 & he now uses a cane and/or walker inside and scooter for any distance.

BIL had horizontal fracture in the early 60's...his leg is 8" shorter than the other one and his special "lift" shoe costs over $300.

Both were told they'd be excellent weather forecasters & they are! Their aches predict a weather change about three days before it happens.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 10:04PM
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Grittymitts, thanks for your response. That was a big surgery for your DG. I cannot tell from your post if you think it was successful or not.

Mine would be a rod through the bone, no hip involvement.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 10:35AM
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My son had a shattered femur(motorcycle accident> repaired by plating and screws. At the time he elected to plate rather than rod because a plate can often be removed after five years.Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about all your options , downsides and what would be best for you individually. As it turns out the plate had to be placed too near the hip joint for removal to be a good option for my DS. He got t-boned 2 years ago on the same side and knocked a few screws loose. It was at that time he was told to leave the plate be. He had to undergo knee surgery that time.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 1:31PM
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Oops...I meant DH, not DG- bet you think I'm really old!

I'm sure age has a lot to do with healing & full recovery.
(Sorry I was not clear whether or not his was successfull.)

DH's femur surgery was deemed successful- but he has multiple health issues; four unsuccessful back surgeries, heart transplant; femur fracture occured as he was going up the 3 steps to our door with a broken wrist using a "platform" walker coming home from second hip replacment operation. What a nightmare!! The break tracked alongside the titanium rod implanted in femur during hip surgery. (Physical therapist who taught him to use the special walker did not tell him he could NOT go up steps with it.) Numerous falls & both ankles badly fractured since then due to dizziness from powerful pain meds while undergoing radiation for throat cancer. He's a big guy & when he falls it practically shakes the house.
Good luck with your surgery!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 11:20AM
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Well I wondered what a DG was but decided to go along with it!! LOL Goodness your husand (and you too) have been through a lot.

Don't know about the surgery yet. Have to do 6 weeks on crutches first. Thanks for the good wishes.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 9:38PM
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I don't understand. If you are going to be doing 6 weeks on crutches your fracture will have healed by then. Surgery is done before the healing takes place when the prognosis is that the breaks are too extreme to heal properly or the bone are unable to be set.

What type of fracture do you have? How old are you? Are you casted? Havethey had to use pins? Are you saying they will wait 6 weeks and then rebreak the bone to surgically repair it. Because that is what they will have to do. The only other possibility is that they may have not been able to align the bone perfectly and are afraid of "slippage". That might require a small plate and a few screws but rodding is for serious injuries where it would be impossible to set.

My son had his femur shattered into sixteen larger pieces and countless smaller fragments that were left to be reabsorbed. You seem to be asking about a simple fracture which should heal quite well in the six weeks.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 5:35AM
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I was wondering about the six weeks on crutches too. Is the leg bone just cracked and weakened or is it a break all the way across? In six weeks, the bone should be well on it's way to being knitted.

Do you have a lot of skin and muscle damage? Sometimes a doctor will wait until the area is healed and clean before opening the site of the break. They don't want to expose the bone to possible infection. Bone infections are very hard to clear up.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 9:38AM
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I fractured the bone (on a too-long walk, believe it or not) last year so the dr. put me on crutches to see if it would heal, and it did, but it continued to hurt when I walked in spite of months of PT exercises. I ignored that pain hoping it was muscle or would go away in time. Apparently it was not a good strong mend because I took a slight stumble and re-fractured it a couple of weeks ago. So I'm back on crutches again (boo hoo). Apparently I'm not able to heal the bone well enough to be a good strong bone. I have osteoporosis too.

The orthopedist told me that it is possible I will need a rod inserted into the bone. If we decide to insert a rod, it is better to do on a leg that has healed as much as possible rather than one that is still fractured.

There is no cast or screws and it to me doesn't look like a big fracture on the x-ray. It's not clear across, just a bit into the callus of the previous healing. Muscle damage? I don't think so.

I have researched a little on the internet about the rod procedure, but honestly I would not look forward to that. I just want my life back, able to walk, garden, etc. I'm still able to work (part-time), but it sure is difficult on crutches.

Thanks for your interest.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 5:44PM
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Ok, what your doctor is afraid of, since you have osteoporsis, is that the bone will continue to fracture over and over again. Each time will probably cause greater damage. The rod would reinforce the leg so that you wouldn't be as apt to damage it again.

This may be the best choice for you. It's just hard to say. No one likes the idea of surgery. Being inactive is really the pits, isn't it!!!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 6:08PM
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Yes, Agnespuffin, I think you have it right. It's possible that it would always be very weak spot, and if I take a real fall, I could wind up with a bad break when I'm older and harder to heal. So it's crutches for now (shoulders and ribs hurt 10X more than the leg), and we'll see what dr. says in Jan.

I want to know all about the rod procedure, how it works, what my limitations would be and any alternatives.

If he's encouraging me to do it, I guess I should get a second opinion. He's with a major ortho group in my area.

Again, thanks.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 6:49PM
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You wouldn't have any limitations except during the healing period. You won't even know you have it.

If you think that it would make you feel better about it, please do get a second opinion. You are right about one thing, you won't be getting any younger. If you have a very bad break, it will be harder to fix.

And, best of all, it's the common way of repairing injuries to football players. The limb is set with a rod, and he is back to playing much sooner.

Ask your doctor to show you a picture of how it's done. Better yet, get him to show you an xray of a patient that has had it done. I think you will be surprised at the simplicity of the operation.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 7:53PM
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Football players have rods in their legs?! Amazing that they still can play. And all I want to do is walk, and not even fast!! LOL!

The dr. did briefly describe the procedure to me, pins at the top and pins at the bottom holding the rod in place. I also looked at some pics on the internet. Nothing is settled yet until the 6 weeks have passed.

My imagination is running away with me a bit, and I have a list of questions which I add to regularly for the dr. I wonder if there is a chance that we'll get a good knit this time, but probably not.

You have helped me a lot--it's why I asked the question here to collect as much info as possible.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 8:55PM
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