Donnelly E, Saleh A, Unnanuntana A, Lane JM. Atypical femoral fractures: epidemiology, etiology, and patient management. Curr Opin Support Palliat Care. 2012.


Purpose of review: To review the definition, epidemiology, and putative pathophysiology of atypical femoral fractures and propose strategies for the management of patients with atypical fractures as well as patients on long-term bisphosphonates without atypical fractures.

Recent findings: Recent epidemiologic evidence shows that the absolute incidence of atypical femoral fractures is small compared with the incidence of typical hip fractures. However, long-term bisphosphonate use may be an important risk factor for atypical fractures, and minimal additional antifracture benefit has been demonstrated for treatment durations longer than 5 years for patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis. This review gives advice to aid clinicians in the management of patients with incipient or complete atypical fractures.

Summary: Extremely limited evidence is available for how best to manage patients with atypical fractures. A comprehensive metabolic approach for the management of patients on long-term bisphosphonates will help to prevent oversuppression of bone remodeling that is implicated in the pathogenesis of these fractures.

PMID: 22643705