Hip fractures in the non-elderly—Who, why and whither?

Cecilia Rogmark, Morten Tange Kristensen, Bjarke Viberg, Sebastian Strøm Rönnquist, Søren Overgaard, Henrik Palm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (SciVal)


Nonelderly hip fracture patients have gathered little scientific attention, and our understanding of the group may be biased by patient case-mix and lack of follow-up. Preconceptions may thwart adequate investigation of bone health and other comorbidities. This literature review focusses on who these patients between 20 and 60 years are, how to treat them and how to evaluate the outcome. 2–11% of the hip fractures occur in non-elderly, equally common in men and women. Every second to forth patient smoke, have chronic diseases, and abuse alcohol. Poor self-rated health, sleep disturbances, low cognitive function and education are associated with increased hip fracture risk in young adults. Bone health is poorly investigated, but literature suggest young patients to have lower bone mineral density regardless of trauma mechanism. Studies contradict on whether surgery within 8–12 h reduce the risk of avascular necrosis in femoral neck fractures (FNF). Based on rationality, surgery ought to be performed promptly, in order to reduce pain and permit rehabilitation. There is no convincing support from the existing literature to use open reduction. Good reduction is mandatory, preferably using a closed reduction technique. The failure rate following internal fixation of displaced FNF in younger patients can be as high as 59%. In some cases a displaced FNF is better treated with a primary arthroplasty; in case of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis for example. Complications after extracapsular fractures vary from 6 to 23%. The relatively few studies looking at functional outcome in non-elderly use a multitude of outcome measures, precluding comparisons. Many non-elderly patients seem not to fully recover. While some non-elderly hip fracture patients are healthy individuals sustaining high energy trauma, others have low-energy fractures and comorbidities including reduced bone strength (either as a primary or secondary condition). i.e. non-delaying medical optimization, proper surgical technique, bone health investigation and secondary fracture prevention is necessary. Younger hip fracture patients are at risk of permanent loss of function, and negative socioeconomic and psychological consequences. High-energy trauma does not exclude the presence of osteopenia. A hip fracture in adulthood and middle-age is very seldom caused by bad luck only!

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1445-1450
Issue number8
Early online date2018 Jan 1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Orthopedics


  • Avascular necrosis, non-union, patient reported outcome
  • Femoral neck fracture
  • Hip fracture
  • Osteopenia
  • Trauma mechanism
  • Young


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