Depending on the fracture configuration and patient’s needs, timely surgery after consideration of options including minimally invasive approaches is of paramount importance.

With specialised geriatric care available in Tan Tock Seng Hospital, our elderly patients are all set to enjoy better recovery and improved mobility. Mobility among the elderly can be significantly affected when fractures are sustained.

Mobility and The Ageing Population

The ageing population in Singapore has been on the rise and today, most elderly folks in our society lead healthy and active lifestyles.

Trivial injuries are more likely to result in fractures among the elderly due to the presence of osteoporosis compared to the younger population.

Common fractures that occur in the upper limb are fractures around the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. In the lower limb, the most common fractures involve the hip joint. The incidence of hip fractures in particular has been on the rise in recent years. One of the major challenges for these patients is to regain their pre-fracture mobility or function.

Maintaining Mobility

In today’s society, cultural norms demand every individual to be independent and self-sufficient, particularly in carrying out activities of daily living. Although caregivers may be present to care for the aged in a family unit, the elderly would usually hope to remain active and be able to care for themselves.

After sustaining a fracture, mobility is acutely lost, due to pain and loss of bodily function. Some fractures, particularly in the upper limb that are not displaced, may be treated conservatively with a cast or arm sling. Nevertheless, displaced fractures in the upper limb can benefit from a surgical procedure.

Loss in mobility proves more of a concern in the lower limb, as the patient will not be able to sit up or even walk after sustaining a fracture. Being bed bound poses other complications of immobility, such as deep vein thrombosis, bed sores, urinary tract infection, chest infection and depression.

Therefore, upon a decision for surgery with informed consent, surgery should be done as early as possible. Delays in surgery will significantly increase complications and impede commencement of rehabilitation.

Source: Tan Tock Seng Hospital - GP Buzz