Operative management of acetabular fractures. A review of 73 fractures

Injury. 2005 May;36(5):605-12. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2004.11.022.


Between June 1994 and December 2000, 80 displaced acetabular fractures were treated by open reduction and internal fixation, where possible by a single surgical approach. We report our results in 72 patients (73 fractures) who completed a minimum follow-up of 2 years. The average age of patients was 39.5 years (range 15-76 years). Thirty-four fractures were classified as simple and the remaining 39 were complex fractures. Twenty-four patients were recorded to have posterior dislocation of the hip joint at the time of initial presentation and at surgery eight patients were noted to have varying degrees of damage to the head of the femur. The average time to surgery was 11.7 days (range 1-35 days); 80% of cases were operated within 2 weeks period. The average follow-up was 45.5 months (range 24-96 months). In 67 fractures (92%), only a single approach was used (Anterior Ilioinguinal 26 cases; Posterior Kocker-Lagenbach 41 cases). Five fractures needed an extensile triradiate approach and only one case required a combined anterior and posterior approach. Congruent reduction was achieved in 89% of cases. Main complications included deep infection in two patients (2.7%) and severe degenerative changes in three patients (4.2%). A total of four patients (5.5%) required a total hip replacement. There were no cases of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. Heterotopic ossification grade III was seen in three (4.1%) cases and none were grade IV. At the latest follow-up the average Harris hip score was 85 (range 20-100). We conclude that in the majority of cases internal fixation is possible through a single approach provided patients are referred early to a specialist unit. This results in satisfactory outcome with reduced morbidity and complication rate.

MeSH terms

  • Acetabulum / injuries*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal*
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / etiology
  • Osteoarthritis / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome