3 years ago

Atypical femur fractures: a survey of current practices in orthopedic surgery

E. J. Harvey, A. M. Cheung, M. Wall, P. S. Schneider, S. N. Morin, J. P. Brown



The results of a self-administered online survey demonstrate that orthopedic surgeons’ management practices for AFF are variable. These data will inform the development of clinical practice guidelines.


We aimed to determine current AFF treatment practices of orthopedic surgeons to inform clinical practice guideline development.


A self-administered online survey was developed and sequentially posted on the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) website from July to August 2015 and the Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA) website from December 2015 to January 2016. Level of confidence in diagnosis and treatment as well as treatment preferences between respondents who self-identified as trauma surgeons vs. non-trauma surgeons were compared.


A total of 172 completed surveys were obtained (OTA, N = 100, 58%; COA, N = 72, 8%). Seventy-eight percent of respondents had treated ≥1 AFF in the previous 6 months. Seventy-six percent reported feeling extremely or very confident in diagnosing AFF (trauma 84% vs. non-trauma surgeons 70%, p = 0.04), and 63% reported feeling extremely or very confident in treating AFF (trauma 82%, non-trauma surgeons 50%, p < 0.01). Preferred management for complete and symptomatic incomplete AFFs was surgical fixation with a cephalomedullary nail (CMN) by 88 and 79%, respectively, while close follow-up was preferred for asymptomatic incomplete AFFs in 72% of respondents. Trauma surgeons used the CMN more frequently than non-trauma surgeons (90 vs. 76% p = 0.03). In patients with bilateral AFFs, with one side surgically treated, 56% were extremely likely to surgically treat the contralateral side, if symptomatic. Most felt guidelines (81%) and educational resources (73%) would be valuable.


Current orthopedic treatment practices for AFFs are variable. The results of this survey will inform the development of practice guidelines and educational resources.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00198-017-4155-4

DOI: 10.1007/s00198-017-4155-4

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