Sexual dysfunction following traumatic pelvic fracture

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2021 Mar 1;90(3):550-556. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000003001.


Background: While sexual dysfunction (SD) in men following traumatic pelvic fracture is common, little is known of how men experience changes in their sexual health after injury. The aims of the present study were to explore the personal and interpersonal impacts of SD in men after pelvic injury and to understood how interactions with the health care system can be optimized to improve patient-centered trauma survivorship care.

Methods: Fifteen semistructured interviews were conducted with men who had a history of traumatic pelvic fracture and self-reported SD. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and uploaded to a web-based qualitative analysis platform. A codebook was developed, and intercoder reliability was verified. Inductive thematic analysis was performed to identify notable themes related to patient postinjury sexual health experiences.

Results: Median age of interviewees was 46 years (interquartile range, 44-54 years), with a median time since injury of 41 months (interquartile range, 22-55 months). Five primary themes were identified from the analysis: (1) effects on self-image and romantic relationships, (2) unknown care pathways and lack of communication, (3) inconsistencies with health care provider priorities, (4) provision of sexual health information and resources, and (5) the importance of setting expectations. Interviewees suggested that improved communication, provision of information related to possible adverse effects of their injuries, and expectation setting would improve posttrauma experiences.

Conclusion: Men's experiences with SD after pelvic trauma can be heavily influenced by their interactions with health care providers and the value that is placed on sexual health as a component of survivorship. Incorporating these findings into a patient-centered trauma survivorship program may improve patient experiences.

Level of evidence: Therapeutic, level V.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Fractures, Bone / complications*
  • Fractures, Bone / psychology
  • Fractures, Bone / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Pelvic Bones / injuries*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Concept
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / therapy