The human pelvis is made of the following bones:
- The sacrum, which is the terminal portion of the spine
- The ilium, which is the wing line bone of the flank
- The pubis
The three bones are arranged so that they form a ”ring”; the sacrum being placed at the rear, the ilium placed to the sides, and the pubis placed in the front. The acetabulum refers to the ”cup” or the socket of the hip joint. Fractures of the pelvis may assume several forms and broadly the fractures can be categorized into stable and unstable types.
Pelvic fractures in itself are life-threatening as they cause massive bleeding internally almost up to 3-4 liters of blood loss. In addition, these injuries are almost always associated with injuries to major blood vessels and nerves and other visceral organs, thus complicating the picture further.
Pelvic fractures in itself are life-threatening as they cause massive bleeding internally almost up to 3-4litres of blood loss. In addition, these injuries are almost always associated with injuries to major blood vessels and nerves and other visceral organs, thus complicating the picture further.
Pelvic fractures and acetabular fractures are among the most serious injuries treated by orthopedic surgeons. Often, the result of a traumatic incident such as a motor vehicle accident or a bad fall, these fractures require rapid and precise treatment, and in some cases, one or more surgical procedures may be necessary.
Acetabulum Fracture Surgery
Surgery is required to obtain the best possible results for the majority of patients. Acetabulum fracture surgery preserves the hip joint by accurate reconstruction of the fractured bone. This reconstruction restores the smooth surface of the acetabulum and its accurate fit to the femoral head.
In the majority of cases, arthritis is prevented and there is the restoration of normal hip function.
A variety of surgical techniques are used to stabilize pelvic ring disruptions (fractures and/or dislocations). Both external (outside the skin) and internal (located in or on the bone) fixations are advocated. Pelvic stability provides comfort, decreases hemorrhage, and facilitates patient mobilization.
Patients with displaced and/or unstable fractures should strongly consider having surgery. The decision to have surgery should be discussed by the patient and physician.
After a fracture, fragments of the bone may be scattered within the body. If surgery is not used to fix this, these displaced fragments heal in poorly aligned locations. Consequently, the acetabular cartilage surfaces remain incongruous and post-traumatic arthritic changes occur in the acetabulum.
The typical inpatient stay for acetabular fracture surgery is 7-10 days.
Patients involved in more of physical activity are on temporary disability for 6-9 months following surgery. Those individuals who have jobs that are less physically demanding, ie. desk jobs, return to work much earlier (some even after a few weeks). However, each case is evaluated on an individual basis.
Patients return to their normal routine depending on their injuries and activities. Sedentary workers can usually return to work much sooner than heavy laborers.
Initially you will visit your surgeon often, for a couple of weeks and have conventional radiographs. At about 6 months you will return approximately every 3 months for x-rays followed by annual check-ups. Additional visits are unnecessary unless a problem arises.