The treatment of choice for elderly with a displaced intra-capsular femoral neck fractures is prosthetic replacement. This is however a major surgical procedure for geriatric patients with multiple co-morbidities which can threaten hemodynamic stability and lead to death. In this study we compared the outcome of internal fixation (IF) versus hemiarthroplasty (HA) for the management of intra-capsular femoral neck fractures in the elderly with severe co-morbidities.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all the patients who were admitted to our Level-II trauma centre with a femoral neck fracture between January 2009 and June 2011. Inclusion criteria were: 70 years or older, ASA 3 or higher, a displaced femoral neck fracture and treatment with either internal fixation or a cemented hemiprosthesis. The primary outcome was 6-month mortality rate. Secondary outcomes were 30-day mortality, post-operative complications, re-operation rate and length of hospital stay.


80 patients met our inclusion criteria. The mean age of the IF group was 81.6 years and in the HA group it was 84.5 years (P=0.07). The medical records were retrieved 34-64 months after surgery. Two intra-operative deaths due to cement implantation syndrome were found in the HA group and none in the IF group. Twelve patients (21.8%) in the HA group died within 30 days after surgery and 2 (8.0%) in the IF group (P=0.21). The mean operating time was 83 min. for the HA group and 51 min. for the IF group (P=0.000). There were more implant-related complications in the IF than in the HA group (36% vs 9.1% respectively, P=0.008). The 6-month mortality rates didn’t differ between the IF and the HA groups (respectively 28.0% vs 34.5%, P=0.62).


The post-operative mortality rates did not differ between the IF and the HA groups in elderly patients with a displaced femoral neck fracture and ASA 3 to 5. However, the HA associated with less implant-related complications than the IF in this group and it is therefore the treatment of choice.

Keywords: Elderly, Femoral Fracture, Hemiarthroplaty, Internal Fixation, Morbiditymortality.
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