In a series of 450 patients over 70 years of age with displaced fractures of the femoral neck sustained between 1995 and 1997 treatment was randomised either to internal fixation or replacement. Depending on age and level of activity the latter was either a total hip replacement or a hemiarthroplasty. Patients who were confused or bed-ridden were excluded, as were those with rheumatoid arthritis. At ten years there were 99 failures (45.6%) after internal fixation compared with 17 (8.8%) after replacement. The rate of mortality was high at 75% at ten years, and was the same in both groups at all times. Patient-reported pain and function were similar in both groups at five and ten years. Those with successfully healed fractures had more hip pain and reduction of mobility at four months compared with patients with an uncomplicated replacement, and they never attained a better outcome than the latter patients regarding pain or function.
Primary replacement gave reliable long-term results in patients with a displaced fracture of the femoral neck.