The authors reviewed 10 patients with subcapital fractures associated with extensive osteonecrosis of the femoral head and distinguished these fractures from traumatic femoral neck fractures. The mean age of the patients was 52 years (range, 36-68 years). Nine patients were younger than 60 years. Eight patients had risk factors for osteonecrosis. Necrosis was extensive and involved nearly the whole femoral head. Fracture occurred at the junction between a necrotic bone and reparative bone and extended downward through the reparative interface to the healthy inferior cortex of the femoral neck. Patients experienced hip pain that was aggravated gradually during a period of 1 to 24 weeks before diagnosis of the fracture. In all patients, the opposite femoral head was involved with osteonecrosis. In two femoral heads, slight collapse or subchondral fracture (crescent sign) also was observed. No patient had a history of precipitating trauma. In patients younger than 60 years with a subcapital fracture, fracture associated with extensive teonecrosis of the femoral head should be suspected when a history of trauma is not obvious, when the opposite hip shows findings of osteonecrosis, and when the patient has a risk factor of osteonecrosis. In these fractures, osteosynthesis rarely should be considered because of the high failure rate caused by additional progression of extensive osteonecrosis and the probability of nonunion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine