Femoral Shaft Fracture

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Femoral Shaft Fracture: aka Internal Fixation, Upper thigh fracture




What is it?

This type of surgery is done on a patient that has broken his or her thigh bone.  It’s made to stabilize and to help the bone to heal. 


The Operation

The patient is put under general anesthesia for the surgery.  Once the patient is completely asleep, the surgeon will make an incision in the patient’s buttock, right over the top of the patient’s thigh bone.  The surgeon will ten pass a rod down the inside of the patient’s thigh bone.  It will go across the break and hold the patient’s bone in the right position.

The surgeon may also put some screws across the rod in order to make the bone more stable.  The wound will then be closed with clips or stitches and a plastic tube will be placed in the wound in order to drain any blood that is left over from the surgery.


Alternatives to Surgery

If the patient’s leg is left in a traction splint, the thigh bone will eventually heal on its own, but it may take a lot longer than having the surgery.  The patient may possibly need to stay in bed for three months in order to get the leg to heal properly, and the patient’s leg may be shorter. There is also a chance that the bone will heal out of line.  Not all fractures to the thigh bone require surgery, such as one that are at the thigh bone’s lower end, may not be fixed with a rod.


Before the Surgery

The patient who has this type of surgery will come into the hospital in an ambulance. The patient or someone with them will need to let the staff know about their health, any illnesses, and any medications that they are on.  The surgery arrangements are usually made within twenty four hours of sustaining the injury. The patient will be given a lot of tests to see if they are stable to have the surgery.



After the Surgery - In the hospital

The patient will find that their leg isn’t in a traction splint any more. The patient will be given pain medication through injections and pills to help with the pain that they will feel.  The nurses will help the patient to do things until it’s possible to do it for themselves. Because of the post operative discomfort, the patient may find that it’s uncomfortable to pass urine and to empty their bladder.  The patient should let the doctors and nurses know if they are unable to pass urine after six hours.


The wound will have an adhesive dressing on it and the nurses usually remove the drain a day or two after the surgery.  The patient will start getting out of bed the next day. As long as the rod is doing its job, the patient will find they are able to walk with crutches. The patient will be shown how to keep the joints of their hip, knee and ankle mobile.


The patient will be released from the hospital four to five days after the surgery and will be instructed on wound care.


After the Surgery - At Home

The patient must wait for six weeks before they drive, because their reflexes will not be as good when it comes to making an emergency stop.  The length of time that a person must wait before returning to work will depend on the type of job that they have.  If they have a job that requires sitting most of the day, they will be able to return to work two to three weeks after their surgery.  However, if the patient’s job involves manual labour, they may have to wait more than three months.


The patient will be able to start gentle swimming once the stitches are removed, and can do light spots three months after the surgery.



Possible Complications

As with every surgery, this operation has some possible complications.  These complications are:


Excessive bleeding

Reaction to anesthesia

Nerve damage

Blood vessel damage




General Advice

For the patient who has broken his or her thigh bone and doesn’t wish to stay in bed for three months, this is the best solution.




Estimated Costs for Femoral Shaft Surgery


Country Estimated Cost
USA $8,500-11,000
India $4,500-6,000
Malaysia $5,000-7,000
Singapore $6,000-9,000
Thailand $5,000-7,000


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