Diagnostic Procedures to Confirm Hip Fractures
A hip fracture may be easily determined by the physician after careful physical assessments and a review of the symptoms and medical history, health journals say, detailing the fact that the doctor may require certain imaging tests to confirm the location and the severity of the fracture. This is an important step to identify the kind of medical or surgical treatment that best suits the patient’s condition.
Most common signs of hip fractures include severe hip or groin pain, inability to stand on the affected leg, and a guarded position with the affected extremity appearing shorter than the other one. With these symptoms, the doctor may have to order an X-ray procedure to detect problems in your hip and femur. This examination usually takes about 10 minutes and your doctor may readily interpret the results. Women patients need to inform their physician or the radiologist if they are pregnant or if there is a possibility for pregnancy, as radiation may pose some harmful effects on the health and development of the baby.
When no fracture is shown in your X-ray results, your doctor may ask you to undergo a CT (computed tomography) scan or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. These tests are more accurate in detecting the presence of incomplete or hairline fractures, which may be difficult for the X-ray to identify. With MRI, other structures such as the cartilage, muscles, ligaments and the soft tissues that surround the hips may also be viewed and checked for abnormalities. This may be helpful to identify other possible causes of hip fractures (such as cartilage degradation) or other complications such as infections. Contraindications to MRI scan include pregnancy (especially during the first three months), permanent implantations of metallic devices (such as pacemakers and implanted infusion pumps), and previous allergic reactions (most particularly to contrast media).
For women and the elderly, a bone mineral density test may also have to be taken together with the imaging procedures. This test identifies the strength of the bone and detects problems such as osteopenia or osteoporosis. This is also important to determine additional medical treatments for the patient.
When the location and type of hip fracture is identified by your doctor, he or she may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon that can best address your problem and prepare you for surgery. Certain laboratory examinations may be required to clear you for a surgical procedure. However, before you agree on any procedure given by your doctor, inquire more information about possible treatments for hip fractures that may apply to you. For more information check the DePuy Hip Recall News Center.
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