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Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 1995;7(2):117-22.

Sacral and pubic insufficiency fractures after irradiation of gynaecological malignancies.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital.


The association between radiotherapy and insufficiency fractures of the pelvis has not been well documented. Fractures were detected over a 2-year period in eight postmenopausal women who had previously undergone irradiation for gynaecological malignancies. Six of these patients also had local soft tissue complications, such as rectal bleeding and haematuria, in addition to severe low back, buttock or groin pain, caused by the fractures. Plain radiographs were unhelpful in the detection of sacral insufficiency fractures, but showed the pubic fractures in five patients. Diagnoses of insufficiency fractures were made on bone scintigraphic demonstration of the typical 'H' shaped sacral pattern, or the combination of the partial 'H' pattern together with public uptake. Computed tomography was useful for confirmation of insufficiency fractures in doubtful cases. Recognition of insufficiency fractures helps to avoid the pitfalls of misdiagnosing tumour recurrence or bony metastases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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