If a senior breaks his or her hip, it’s best to get them off to surgery as quickly as possible. Otherwise, such fractures can be deadly.

That’s one of the key takeaways from a new study, published earlier this week in the journal CMAJ. Wanting to better understand why the rate of death for hip fracture patients had not declined, despite advancements in technology, researchers with the University of British Columbia and other institutions poured over data from almost 140,000 hip fracture patients age 65 and older.

They found that about 16.5% of hospital-based deaths after a hip fracture could have been avoided if patients had received surgery within 48 hours after the break. Waiting too long for that critical surgery also spells more time stuck in bed, which can snowball into further complications, such as thrombosis.

“The bottom line is that all patients should have hip fracture surgery within two days of hospitalization,” Boris Sobolev, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada, told Reuters. “It’s critical to reduce mortality because if the patients have surgery within two days there is less exposure to inflammation.”

Meanwhile, another unaffiliated study, also out this week found that older adults who break a bone experience an increased risk of death for 10 years following the injury. The risk is not limited to hip fractures.