[Surgical treatment of acetabular fractures: outcome in a series of 60 consecutive cases]

P Y Glas, M H Fessy, J P Carret, J Béjui-Hugues
Revue de Chirurgie Orthopédique et Réparatrice de L'appareil Moteur 2001, 87 (6): 529-38

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: The aim of this study was to analyze clinical and radiographic results after surgical treatment of acetabular fractures.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We reviewed 60 consecutive fractures of the acetabulum with loss of joint congruency at mean 5-years follow-up after treatment. There were 49 men and 11 women, mean age 41 years. According to the R.O. grading, the fractures were: 22 class A (33.3%) including 17 type A1, 23 class B (38%) including 10 type B1a2, 14 class C (23.3%) and 1 unclassifiable. Eight of the patients had associated pelvic injury, 40 had hip dislocations and 9 had sciatic nerve injury. Ten femoral head fractures were discovered during the surgical procedure. Three surgical approaches were used: 1) Kocher Langenbeck approach (28 cases), 2) Mears and Rubash triradiate approach (8 cases), 3) extended iliofemoral approach (22 cases), 4) other approaches (2 cases). Anteroposterior and 45 degrees oblique view of the pelvis were obtained for all patients following admission. Computerized tomography scans were performed in all cases. Fracture displacement and congruency of the femoral head with the roof were documented according to the SOFCOT radiographic criteria. The quality of reduction was assessed using the Matta criteria and the Duquennoy and Senegas criteria. Clinical outcome was assessed at follow-up using the Postel-Merle-d'Aubigné score.

RESULTS: Anatomic reduction was achieved in 62% of the cases (1 mm or less displacement on all views) and congruency of the femoral head with the roof was excellent in 73% of the cases. Clinical outcome was satisfactory in 80% (excellent or good). Operative complications included significant ectopic bone in 21, and in 2 others sciatic nerve palsy that had resolved at 1 year follow-up. Three patients developed avascular necrosis of the femoral head.

DISCUSSION: Clinical outcome depends on the quality of the reduction. Class C and class B fractures with roof injury should thus be treated by large surgical exposure. The triradiate approach increases the incidence of ectopic bone. The higher incidence of ectopic bone in patients treated by osteotomy of the trochanter compared with patients without osteotomy of the trochanter was significant (p<0.05). Avascular necrosis of the femoral head was associated with delayed reduction (66% of the cases).

CONCLUSION: Our good clinical results are encouraging; we are pursuing the use of surgical treatment for displaced acetabular fractures. Clinical outcome depends on the use of the appropriate surgical approach.

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