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Possible complications include:

  • shock: there may be the loss of 1-2 litres of blood with a femoral shaft fracture.
  • thromboembolism
  • fat embolism: this is a very common complication seen in young people with closed femoral fractures. The management should aim to avoid hypoxia.
  • infection
  • delayed union or non-union of the fracture: the union of a fractured shaft of femur may be 100 days plus or minus 20 days. If the bone ends become sclerotic then rigid internal fixation and the addition of bone grafts is required.
  • malunion
  • stiffness of the knee joint: a femoral shaft fracture may result in knee stiffness. This may be caused by an injury that occurred at the same time as the femoral fracture or due to soft-tissue adhesions that developed during treatment.

Last reviewed 01/2018