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J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2012 Jan;20(1):8-16. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-20-01-008.

Variations in sacral morphology and implications for iliosacral screw fixation.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.


Posterior pelvic percutaneous fixation following either closed or open reduction is a popular procedure. Knowledge of the posterior pelvic anatomy, its variations, and related imaging is critical to performing reproducibly safe surgery. The dysmorphic sacrum has several key characteristics. The upper portion of the sacrum is relatively colinear with the iliac crests on the outlet radiographic view. Other characteristics include the presence of mammillary bodies (ie, underdeveloped transverse processes) at the sacral mid-alar area, anterior upper sacral foramina that are not circular, residual upper sacral disks, an acute alar slope oriented from cranial-posterior-central to caudal-anterior-lateral on the outlet and lateral views of the sacrum, a tongue-in-groove sacroiliac joint surface visualized on CT, and cortical indentation of the anterior ala on the inlet radiographic view. The surgeon must be knowledgeable about individual patient anatomy to ensure safe iliosacral screw placement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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