The optimal time for the operation of hip fractures in elderly is not clear. Most of the data indicate that early operation is associated with better prognosis and improved health quality. We aimed to investigate the effect of timing of surgical intervention on the frequency of post-operative complications. recovery of weight bearing ability, total hospitalization time and activities of daily living (ADL) scores. Sixty five patients subjected to surgical repair were followed up. All were evaluated for their ADL before fracture, post-operative 1st, 3rd, 6th and 12th month. The patients operated within 5 days after hospitalization constituted the earl group (n = 38, 24 females, 14 males; mean 44 age = 76.16 +/- 7.08 years), and the patients operated after the fifth day served as the late group (n = 27, 18 females, 9 males; mean age = 75.81 +/- 7.50). Time of recovery of weight bearing ability and total hospitalization time were significantly higher in the late group (P < 0.05). ADL scores in 1st, 3rd and 6th month after surgery were significantly lower (P < 0.05), and death rates on post- operative 1st and 12th month were significantly higher in the late group (P < 0.05). Elderly, operated within 5 days of the hip fracture have increased survival time and better life quality than those operated after the fifth day of the admission. The data supports the previous reports which indicate the necessity of the early operation of elderly hip fractures. (C) 2004 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.