Surgical Complications Associated With Atypical Femur Fractures Attributed to Bisphosphonate Use


Complications of atypical femur fractures (AFFs) are common. AFFs often receive the same treatment as other femoral fractures; however, there appears to be a higher rate of adverse outcomes. Nine patients sustained a total of 13 AFFs, had documented bisphosphonate use before fracture, and had surgery between 2006 and 2012. Complications included continued pain, surgical revision, nonunion, malunion, deformity, or heterotopic ossification. The overall complication rate was 33.3%, with four of the 12 surgeries performed at this institution resulting in one nonunion and three minor complications. None of the primary fixations required revision. There was a higher complication rate for AFFs when compared with non-bisphosphonate-related intramedullary nail femur fracture fixations. This cohort demonstrated a lower rate of major complications compared to the literature. Using a reamed, statically locked nail, halting bisphosphonate medication, and allowing early weight bearing is a safe and efficacious method to treat atypical femur fractures. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 27(1):14–20, 2018)

Key words: atypical femur fracture, bisphosphonate medication

SKU: JSOA-2018-27-1-S4 Categories: , Tags: ,

Douglas S. Schultz, MD; Henry M. Gass IV, MD; William R. Barfield, PhD; Harry A. Demos, MD; and Langdon A. Hartsock, MD