Femur bone, in common parlance is the thigh bone, the bone which runs from the hip to the knee. This is a very important bone and it is one of the major bone sections of our body. Most of our weight is borne by this bone and so it develops and is built in such a way that normally it is not vulnerable to any injury. Therefore, it is one of the strongest and largest bones in our body. However, as they say it is after all a body part and is not invincible and it might give up at some point of time. Bone fractures and high-impact injuries can be sustained by it. Surgery is the only option in that case.
Surgery for a Broken Femur
How severe the fracture or the break is, would determine the time and extent of the surgery. In some cases, the femur may be broken into two, while in some, the things may get worse and the femur may be broken into three parts. While in some cases, the fracture is open and the bone gets exposed. The surgery may last for around 4 hours. Mostly, a metal rod, also known as intramedullary rod is fixed after being inserted in the thigh bone. Then, it is held in place with the help of screws. The good news is that if the bone heals well, the rod can be taken out as well. Casts are usually used for children and not for healthy adults.
In addition to this, there is this hip pinning for fracture, where a large bore or threaded screw is surgically inserted in the femoral head. Then, it is attached to the metallic side plate, which is on the femoral shaft. Consequently, these 2 are locked together and then the plate is fixed to the femur by smaller threaded screws. This allows the hip to move as one unit instead of separate units. Another type is fractured neck, which is also called the 'in-situ' (as it sits) hip fixation. This refers to hip fractures occurring at the point where the femoral joins the femoral neck. In this surgery, 3 hollow screws are inserted in the femoral head, immobilizing the fracture and aiding in the proper recovery.
Recovery Period after Surgery
The recovery starts the moment one is out of the operation theater. An affected person would be required to be in the hospital for a minimum of 2 to 4 days, depending on the progress the affected person makes. That means whether he/she can walk using crutches. A physiotherapist will help the affected person with that. Now after the affected person is discharged, the real challenge begins. The individual should be prepared to be on crutches for around 3 months post surgery. The doctor will make visits periodically and during every visit X-rays of the broken femur will be taken. That can help the doctor to decide how much weight can the bone bear. There will also be a lot of pain which will be experienced by the person in the initial weeks. Painkillers, hot and cold compresses, and elevating the leg would be helpful to alleviate pain.
Finally, physical therapy will also have a major role to play in the healing and recovery after surgery. Light exercises will be prescribed by the therapist which will be focused on getting one's range of motion first and then the strength of the bone back. In addition to that, one can swim or walk in water, which will further speed up the recovery process. Avoid over exerting the hip bone without consulting the doctor.
Ultimately, the individual should also keep in mind that there may be a possibility of complications during the surgery like femur infection, blood clots, and stress of the injury in older people which can lead to other problems. Surgical complications like implant failure and mal-positioning of the fixed bone can be another few complications.
On a conclusive note, there is hardly anything that one can do to prevent it. All that one can do is take good care of themselves, have calcium, and drive safely, because car accidents are a common cause. One should also be careful if involved in contact sport.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.