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Injury. 2007 Mar;38(3):334-43. Epub 2006 Dec 1.

Surgically treated acetabular fractures via a single posterior approach with a follow-up of 2-10 years.

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  • 1First Orthopaedic Department, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, G. Papanikolaou Hospital, Exohi 57010, Thessaloniki, Greece. gpetsatodis@yahoo.com <gpetsatodis@yahoo.com>


The results of operative treatment of acetabular fractures as well as its role in the occurrence of post-traumatic osteoarthritis (OA) are presented. From 1990 to 2000, 50 patients (32 male and 18 female), aging from 18 to 71 years (mean: 37.8 years) underwent an open reduction and internal fixation of their displaced acetabular fracture. They were reviewed at a mean of 5.8 years (2-10 years). A typical Kocher-Langebeck approach was selected in all the patients and in 14 cases a trochanteric osteotomy was added to enhance exposure. The fractures were classified according to the Letournel-Judet classification. The aim of the operation was the anatomic reduction and stable fixation of the fracture with less than 2mm residual displacement, which was achieved in 39 of 50 cases. Post-operative protocol included low-molecular-weight heparin (LWMH) as antithrombotic prophylaxis and 75 mg of indomethacin against heterotopic ossification (HO). At the final follow-up, the patients were evaluated clinically according to D'Aubigne-Postel scoring system and radiologically based on the criteria described by Matta. The clinical results were excellent in 20 patients, good in 18, fair in 5 and poor in 7. The radiological results were excellent in 20 patients, good in 16, fair in 5 and poor in 9. Early post-operative complications included 2 peroneal nerve palsies and 3 wound infections and late complications included 1 patient with avascular necrosis of the femoral head (ANFH), 5 patients with grade III and IV heterotopic ossification according to Brooker classification and 12 patients with post-traumatic osteoarthritis of the hip joint. Although the rates of early and late complications were relatively common, the functional outcome was satisfactory in most of the cases and comparable with other larger series. We concluded that operative treatment of most of the displaced acetabular fractures--except of isolated anterior column or/and anterior wall - could be attempted via a single posterior approach, leading to good to excellent results in the majority of the cases.

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