Unstable pelvic fractures associated with femoral shaft fractures: a retrospective analysis

Biomed J. 2013 Mar-Apr;36(2):77-83. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.110401.


Background: Both pelvic fractures and femoral shaft fractures are caused by high-energy injuries. When unstable pelvic fractures and femoral shaft fractures occur concomitantly, the optimal treatment method is controversial. The aim of this study was to establish a reasonable principle for treating such complicated injuries.

Methods: Forty patients sustaining unstable pelvic fractures and concomitant femoral shaft fractures were treated in a 7-year period. The initial management of the fractures was started at the emergency service according to the Advanced Trauma Life Support protocol. Unstable pelvic fractures were wrapped by cloth sheets and femoral shaft fractures were immobilized with a splint. Angiography was performed on patients with unstable hemodynamic status. The definitive treatment for combined fractures was performed after stabilizing the hemodynamics. Closed nailing was used for femoral shaft fractures, and pelvic fractures were treated with various techniques.

Results: The mortality rate was 12.5% (5/40) during admission. Thirty-three patients were followed up for an average of 32 months (range, 12-76 months). There were 33 cases of unstable pelvic fractures and 36 instances of femoral shaft fractures. The union rate for pelvic fractures was 100% (33/33), while femoral shaft fractures had a 94.4% (34/36) union rate. The average healing time was 3.3 months (range, 1.6-8.1 months) and 4.1 months (range, 2.5-18.2 months) for pelvic and femoral shaft fractures, respectively. After fracture, 34 hips (94%) achieved a satisfactory result in the Harris hip score and 30 knees (83%) achieved a satisfactory result in the Mize knee score.

Conclusions: Stabilization of the hemodynamics in patients with combined fractures should be the first aim. Angiography to stop arterial bleeding in the pelvis is often life-saving. The definitive treatment for combined fractures, such as pelvic fractures and femoral shaft fractures, should wait until hemodynamics is stabilized.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Nails
  • Female
  • Femoral Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Femoral Fractures / surgery*
  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary* / methods
  • Fracture Healing / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Pelvic Bones / surgery*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult