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Periprosthetic atypical femoral fractures exist and are associated with duration of bisphosphonate therapy

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Currently, periprosthetic fractures are excluded from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) definition of atypical femoral fracture (AFFs). This study aims to report on a series of periprosthetic femoral fractures (PFFs) that otherwise meet the criteria for AFFs. Secondary aims were to identify predictors of periprosthetic atypical femoral fractures (PAFFs) and quantify the complications of treatment.

Patients and Methods

This was a retrospective case control study of consecutive patients with periprosthetic femoral fractures between 2007 and 2017. Two observers identified 16 PAFF cases (mean age 73.9 years (44 to 88), 14 female patients) and 17 typical periprosthetic fractures in patients on bisphosphonate therapy as controls (mean age 80.7 years (60 to 86, 13 female patients). Univariate and multivariate analysis was performed to identify predictors of PAFF. Management and complications were recorded.


Interobserver agreement for the PAFF classification was excellent (kappa = 0.944; p < 0.001). On univariate analysis compared with controls, patients with PAFFs had higher mean body mass indices (28.6 kg/m2 (sd 8.9) vs 21.5 kg/m2 (sd 3.3); p = 0.009), longer durations of bisphosphonate therapy (median 5.5 years (IQR 3.2 to 10.6) vs 2.4 years (IQR 1.0 to 6.4); p = 0.04), and were less likely to be on alendronate (50% vs 94%; p = 0.02) with an indication of secondary osteoporosis (19% vs 0%; p = 0.049). Duration of bisphosphonate therapy was an independent predictor of PAFF on multivariate analysis (R2 = 0.733; p = 0.05). Following primary fracture management, complication rates were higher in PAFFs (9/16, 56%) than controls (5/17, 29%; p = 0.178) with a relative risk of any complication following PAFF of 1.71 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.77 to 3.8) and of reoperation 2.56 (95% CI 1.3 to 5.2).


AFFs do occur in association with prostheses. Longer duration of bisphosphonate therapy is an independent predictor of PAFF. Complication rates are higher following PAFFs compared with typical PFFs, particularly of reoperation and infection.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2019;101-B:1285–1291

Correspondence should be sent to C. E. H. Scott; email:

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