Nonunions and malunions of the pelvis

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2015 Aug;41(4):335-42. doi: 10.1007/s00068-014-0461-0. Epub 2014 Nov 4.


Introduction: Neglected pelvic fractures manifesting as pelvic nonunion or malunion are usually due to inadequate initial fixation or negligence of the injury because of increased attention towards other associated life-threatening conditions. The management of such injuries is complex. A systematic review was conducted to spot the clinical manifestations, evaluation, management and outcome of pelvic nonunion and malunion.

Materials and methods: Two databases ("Pubmed" and "Google scholar") were searched to look for relevant literature on pelvic non-union and malunion. The search was limited to 'English language' and 'Human being'.

Results: A total of 500 articles found, of which 10 articles were only reviewed which met the inclusion criteria. These articles discussed the clinical management and treatment of pelvic malunion and non-union following trauma without associated acetabular injury.

Conclusion: The usual presentations of pelvic non-union and malunion are pain, deformity, gait abnormality or instability. A detailed preoperative evaluation is essential as a majority of them have associated hip and spine injury which may be the cause of symptoms. Radiographs and 3D CT scans have helped surgeons in deciding the best way of management. The surgeries are usually complex and may need multiple-staged procedures. Soft tissue release, multiple osteotomies to achieve anatomical or near-anatomical reduction, augmentation of healing process using bone graft and stabilizing the nonunion/ osteotomy site using plates/screws/rods is the basic principle of surgery. Per-operative use of somato-sensory evoked potential evaluation helps the surgeon in preventing iatrogenic nerve injury. Despite these precautions and surgeries, most of the patients do not regain their preinjury functional activity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / adverse effects*
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods
  • Fracture Healing / physiology
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery
  • Fractures, Malunited / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Malunited / etiology
  • Fractures, Malunited / surgery*
  • Fractures, Ununited / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Ununited / etiology
  • Fractures, Ununited / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pelvic Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Pelvic Bones / injuries*
  • Pelvic Bones / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Risk Assessment