Biomechanical Comparison of Five Fixation Techniques for Unstable Fragility Fractures of the Pelvic Ring

J Clin Med. 2021 May 26;10(11):2326. doi: 10.3390/jcm10112326.


Background: Incidence of pelvic ring fractures has increased over the past four decades, especially after low-impact trauma-classified as fragility fractures of the pelvis (FFP). To date, there is a lack of biomechanical evidence for the superiority of one existing fixation techniques over another. An FFP type IIc was simulated in 50 artificial pelvises, assigned to 5 study groups: Sacroiliac (SI) screw, SI screw plus supra-acetabular external fixator, SI screw plus plate, SI screw plus retrograde transpubic screw, or S1/S2 ala-ilium screws. The specimens were tested under progressively increasing cyclic loading. Axial stiffness and cycles to failure were analysed. Displacement at the fracture sites was evaluated, having been continuously captured via motion tracking.

Results: Fixation with SI screw plus plate and SI screw plus retrograde transpubic screw led to higher stability than the other tested techniques. The S1/S2 ala-ilium screws were more stable than the SI screw or the SI screw plus external fixator.

Conclusions: In cases with displaced fractures, open reduction and plate fixation provides the highest stability, whereas in cases where minimally invasive techniques are applicable, a retrograde transpubic screw or S1/S2 ala-ilium screws can be considered as successful alternative treatment options.

Keywords: S1/S2 ala–ilium screws; biomechanics; external fixator; pelvic ring fracture; retrograde transpubic screw.