Sacral fractures: current strategies in diagnosis and management

Orthopedics. 2009 Oct;32(10) doi: 10.3928/01477447-20090818-18.


Sacral fractures are commonly associated with pelvic ring fractures due to high-energy mechanisms of injury. An understanding of the anatomic relation of the sacrum to the lumbar spine, pelvis, and surrounding neurovascular structures is critical in evaluating functional deficits that may be associated with sacral fractures. While displaced fractures can be easily diagnosed on high quality plain radiographs, nondisplaced or transverse fracture patterns may be difficult to diagnose without a computed tomography scan. Once identified, correct classification of a sacral fracture can facilitate ideal treatment strategies. Stable nondisplaced fractures are usually treated nonoperatively, while significantly displaced fractures require reduction and internal fixation. Surgical fixation techniques include percutaneously placed iliosacral screws, posterior sacral "tension band" fixation, and for certain fracture patterns osteosynthesis that incorporates the lower lumbar spine (lumbopelvic or triangular fixation). This article reviews the approach to sacral fracture diagnosis and management.

MeSH terms

  • Fracture Fixation
  • Humans
  • Lumbosacral Plexus / injuries
  • Lumbosacral Plexus / surgery
  • Orthopedic Procedures / adverse effects
  • Radiography
  • Sacrum / diagnostic imaging
  • Sacrum / injuries*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / surgery
  • Spinal Fractures / classification
  • Spinal Fractures / complications
  • Spinal Fractures / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Fractures / therapy*
  • Trauma, Nervous System / etiology