Femoral Shaft Fractures

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The femur is the largest bone in the body and when the shaft (mid portion) is broken the required treatment is almost always surgical. This treatment aims to get patients mobile as early as possible and will most often permit full weight bearing.

Key Points — Diagnosis and Management

These points will be discussed in more detail when you meet your surgeon.

  • Fractures of the femoral shaft, if treated properly, will usually heal well, but may take many months to do so.
  • In almost all cases femoral shaft fractures are treated with internal fixation. Most commonly, an intramedullary nail is the most appropriate implant, but on some occasions plate-and-screw fixation is a better choice.
  • Intramedullary nailing involves passing a titanium rod down the inside of femur bone, crossing and securing the fracture. The nail is held in place with locking screws at the top and bottom of the femur.
  • After this operation, patients are generally allowed to start putting some weight on their affected leg straight away. They will also be able to move their hip and knee joints freely.

Key Points — Surgical Treatment

  • The surgery will be performed under a general or spinal anaesthetic.
  • Most patients will remain in hospital for a few days after their surgery.
  • You are likely to require the assistance of crutches for many weeks.
  • Return to heavy work or sports will not be until the fracture has healed (3–4 months or more).


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