The 2012 Annual Meeting of the American association of Orthopedic Surgeons was held in February in San Francisco. Two of the studies presented addressed the use of bisphosphonates and atypical femur fractures. One looked at outcomes in patients who had sustained atypical femur fractures and the other addressed whether discontinuing bisphosphonate treatment decreased the risk of a second fracture on the other femur.
Kenneth A. Egol, M.D. reported on his study, “Outcomes Following Displaced Atypical Fracture of the Femur.” The study found that generally these fractures heal well. One year later 67% of the patients reported being pain-free and 65% reported a return to baseline functional status. The presence of sharp thigh pain that worsens with weight bearing may indicate an impending fracture. Patients experiencing such symptoms should discuss the risks and benefits of preventative surgical treatment.
Ricahrd Dell, M.D. reported on his study, ” Stopping Bisphosphonate Treatment Decreases the Risk of Having a Second Atypical Femur Fracture.” This study indicated that stopping bisphosphonates within the first year of an atypical femur fracture substantially reduces the risk of a second femur fracture. Patients who have sustained an atypical femur fracture should discuss with their doctor discontinuing bisphosphonate treatment or switching to an anabolic anti-osteoporosis medication.