ISM / JEAN-DENIS LAREDO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ISM / JEAN-DENIS LAREDO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Broken hip. Coloured X-ray of the right hip with a fractured femur in a patient with osteoporosis. The round femur head articulates with the pelvis at the hip socket (centre). The femur (thigh bone) is fractured and displaced at the neck, between the ball and the shaft. The risk of a break was increased by osteoporosis (brittle bone disease), which causes a loss in bone density. Bones become thinner and more brittle, and so more likely to break under trauma. Osteoporosis is most common in women after the menopause because their ovaries no longer produce the oestrogen hormones that help to maintain bone mass.
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