Which Treatment Options Are Best for an Elderly Person With a Fractured Knee?


Quick Answer

Internal fixation of the knee through surgery is recommended even for elderly patients, as it allows for movement of the knee joint as early as possible, reports the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Bone grafting or even total knee replacements are common in elderly patients with low quality bone tissue.

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Full Answer

Skeletal traction and casting or bracing are non-surgical options suggested by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. When using skeletal traction, the bone fragments are held in place by counterweights, and a pin is inserted to position the leg. Casting or bracing are limited treatments, as they are unable to correctly hold bone fragments in place. Both of these options are not recommended over surgical options, as they immobilize the knee joint and can lead to stiffness and future knee problems.

Surgical intervention is usually the best option to repair a knee fracture but does not immediately occur after it is discovered unless the skin is broken, adds the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Often, the fragments are stabilized using an external system of pins attached to a frame until surgery. The surgery uses a similar system underneath the patient's muscles and skin of the knee using plates and screws. Another option uses a rod inserted directly into the marrow of the femur. In the case of elderly patients, bone tissue from the pelvis or artificial bone fillers may be required to complete the healing process.

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