An acetabular hip fracture is a hip fracture that occurs in the area where the pelvis meets the head of the femur bone, which is known as the hip socket. (For this reason, this fracture is sometimes referred to as a broken hip socket.) Specifically, the acetabulum is part of the pelvis that meets with the upper end of the thigh bone to form the hip joint—in other words, it’s the “socket” in the hip joint.
In most cases, the term “hip fracture” or “broken hip” refers to a fracture of the upper femur, the femoral neck or femoral head—the “ball” portion of the hip joint. With acetabular hip fracture, however, the fracture is of this socket, the acetabulum. These fractures are often complex and difficulty to treat because access to the bone is more difficult, and the bone is nearby major blood vessels, the sciatic nerve, the intestines, the ureter and the bladder. Surgery is used to realign and stabilize the displaced joint surfaces.
This type of hip fracture is uncommon, and is usually caused by significant, direct trauma such as high falls or car accidents to the pelvis or femur. In addition, elderly individuals may suffer acetabular hip fracture as the result of weakened bones due to osteoporosis.
These fractures, which affect individuals of all ages, are among the most serious injuries treated by orthopedic surgeons; they can cause pain in the hip area and an inability to walk without assistance. Acetabular hip fracture needs rapid treatment that may include surgical procedures.