JBJS Editor’s Choice: Improving Function After Fragility Fractures

hip_fracture_drugs_11_16_16In the past several years, the orthopaedic community has become highly engaged in improving the follow-up management of patients presenting with fragility fractures. We have realized that orthopaedic surgeons are central to the ongoing health and welfare of these patients and that the episode of care surrounding a fragility fracture represents a unique opportunity to get patients’ attention. Using programs such as the AOA’s “Own the Bone” registry, increasing numbers of orthopaedic practices and care centers are leading efforts to deliver evidenced-based care to fragility-fracture patients.

In the November 16, 2016 edition of The Journal, Aspenberg et al. carefully examine the impact of the anabolic agent teriparatide versus the bisphosphonate risedronate on the 26-week outcomes of more than 170 randomized patients (mean age 77 ±8 years) who were treated surgically for a low-trauma hip fracture. This investigation is timely and appropriate because our systems of care are evolving so that increasing numbers of patients are receiving pharmacologic intervention for low bone density both before and after a fragility fracture.

The secondary outcomes of the timed up and go (TUG) test and post-TUG test pain were better in the teriparatide group, but there were no differences in radiographic fracture healing or patient-reported health status.

Although this study was designed primarily to measure the effects of the two drugs on spinal bone mineral density at 78 weeks, these secondary-outcome findings confirm the value of initiating pharmacologic intervention early on after a fragility fracture, whether it’s a bisphosphonate or anabolic agent. The orthopaedic community needs to continue leading multipronged efforts to deal with the public health issues of osteoporosis and fragility fractures.

Click here for additional OrthoBuzz posts related to osteoporosis and fragility fractures.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

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One response to “JBJS Editor’s Choice: Improving Function After Fragility Fractures”

  1. Per Aspenberg says :

    I agree with the Editor that early postoperative intervention against osteoporosis may be important, but I would like to mention that, during early planning of this study, timed-up-and-go (TUG), was thought of as the primary out-come, i.e. the study was initially planned a fracture healing study. Later, bone density came up as the primary. I mention this to stress that the TUG results are important. They are very much in line with the thought that teriparatide can accelerate fracture healing in humans, as it is known to do in animal models.

    Like

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