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Could temporary external fixation after reduction of displaced acetabular fractures prevent posttraumatic heterotopic ossification?

OBJECTIVES: To recommend appropriate immobilization after the initial reduction of acetabular displaced fractures in order to minimize the risk of heterotopic ossification formation.

DESIGN: Retrospective study of patients treated in our surgical department during the years 2005-2018.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: There were 94 patients included in statistical analysis. The factors of injury severity, course of surgery and hospitalization and incidence of complications were recorded. The functional and X-ray results were evaluated at least one year after surgery.

RESULTS: The patients were divided into the two groups according to the type of fixation after closed reduction, the external fixation (EF) and the skeletal traction (ST) group. According to the type of fracture there were 33 patients with central displacement and 61 patients with posterior displacement. Ossification grade III. And IV. Occur in 20% of our sample. There was greater incidence of Brooker grade III. And IV. Ossification in the ST group, but statistically insignificant, p = 0.57. There was no statistically significant difference in the occurrence of ossifications regarding the severity of the head injury, p = 0.11, or to the severity of the injury p = 0.54. The combination of posterior displacement and ST results in higher risk for ossifications, specifically in our group at 11.48% compared to the combination of posterior displacement and EF where it is 8.2%.

CONCLUSION: Skeletal traction for posterior displaced acetabular fracture appears to be a more risky procedure for the development of ossifications than external fixation.

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