Are osteoporotic fractures being adequately investigated? A questionnaire of GP & orthopaedic surgeons

BMC Fam Pract. 2006 Feb 7:7:7. doi: 10.1186/1471-2296-7-7.


Background: To investigate the current practice of Orthopaedic Surgeons & General Practitioners (GP) when presented with patients who have a fracture, with possible underlying Osteoporosis.

Methods: Questionnaires were sent to 140 GPs and 140 Orthopaedic Surgeons. The participants were asked their routine clinical practice with regard to investigation of underlying osteoporosis in 3 clinical scenarios. 55 year old lady with a low trauma Colles fracture. 60 year old lady with a vertebral wedge fracture. 70 year old lady with a low trauma neck of femur fracture.

Results: Most doctors agreed that patients over 50 years old with low trauma fractures required investigation for osteoporosis, however, most surgeons (56%, n = 66) would discharge patients with low trauma Colles fracture without requesting or initiating investigation for osteoporosis. Most GPs (67%, n = 76) would not investigate a similar patient for osteoporosis, unless prompted by the Orthopaedic Surgeon or patient. More surgeons (71%, n= 83) and GPs (64%, n = 72) would initiate investigations for osteoporosis in a vertebral wedge fracture, but few surgeons (35%, n = 23) would investigate a neck of femur fracture patient after orthopaedic treatment.

Conclusion: Most doctors know that fragility fractures in patients over 50 years old require investigation for Osteoporosis; however, a large population of patients with osteoporotic fractures are not being given the advantages of secondary prevention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colles' Fracture / etiology*
  • Colles' Fracture / surgery
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • England
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Femoral Fractures / etiology*
  • Femoral Fractures / surgery
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthopedics / methods*
  • Orthopedics / statistics & numerical data
  • Osteoporosis / complications
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Spinal Fractures / etiology*
  • Spinal Fractures / surgery
  • Surveys and Questionnaires