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Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Oct;96(42):e8136. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000008136.

Three-dimensional reduction and finite element analysis improves the treatment of pelvic malunion reconstructive surgery: A case report.

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aRG Numerical Simulation and Material Science, ZESBO - Center for Research on the Musculoskeletal System bDepartment of Orthopedics, Trauma and Plastic Surgery, University of Leipzig, Leipzig cDepartment of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany.



Pelvic malunion is a rare complication and is technically challenging to correct owing to the complex three-dimensional (3D) geometry of the pelvic girdle. Hence, precise preoperative planning is required to ensure appropriate correction. Reconstructive surgery is generally a 2- or 3-stage procedure, with transiliac osteotomy serving as an alternative to address limb length discrepancy.


A 38-year-old female patient with a Mears type IV pelvic malunion with previous failed reconstructive surgery was admitted to our department due to progressive immobilization, increasing pain especially at the posterior pelvic arch and a leg length discrepancy. The leg discrepancy was approximately 4 cm and rotation of the right hip joint was associated with pain.


Radiography and computer tomography (CT) revealed a hypertrophic malunion at the site of the previous posterior osteotomy (Mears type IV) involving the anterior and middle column, according to the 3-column concept, as well as malunion of the left anterior arch (Mears type IV).


The surgery was planned virtually via 3D reconstruction, using the patient's CT, and subsequently performed via transiliac osteotomy and symphysiotomy. Finite element method (FEM) was used to plan the osteotomy and osteosynthesis as to include an estimation of the risk of implant failure.


There was not incidence of neurological injury or infection, and the remaining leg length discrepancy was ≤ 2 cm. The patient recovered independent, pain free, mobility. Virtual 3D planning provided a more precise measurement of correction parameters than radiographic-based measurements. FEM analysis identified the highest risk for implant failure at the symphyseal plate osteosynthesis and the parasymphyseal screws. No implant failure was observed.


Transiliac osteotomy, with additional osteotomy or symphysiotomy, was a suitable surgical procedure for the correction of pelvic malunion and provided adequate correction of leg length discrepancy. Virtual 3D planning enabled precise determination of correction parameters, with FEM analysis providing an appropriate method to predict areas of implant failure.

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