Fractures of the femoral head
Femoral head fractures are rare injuries that occur most commonly from high-energy impacts, such as those seen in road traffic accidents. The traumatic nature of these injuries means that they are often associated with many other injuries, which can often be life threatening. Although a fracture of the femoral head is not often a life-threatening injury, there is a high potential for developing complications that can greatly affect the function of the joint later in life. A femoral head fracture is most commonly associated with a traumatic dislocation of the hip joint. Thus, once these injuries have been identified, they need to be reduced promptly and accurately. A number of classifications systems are used for describing femoral head fractures, and of these, the Pipkin classification system is one of the most widely used. As this injury is relatively rare, the published literature on the subject is limited and thus much debate still exists about the best methods for classification, treatment and assessment of outcomes. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the injury and its management.