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01.11.2010 | Original Article | Ausgabe 2/2010


External fixation in pelvic fractures

Michelangelo Scaglione, Paolo Parchi, G. Digrandi, M. Latessa, G. Guido


Pelvic fractures account for 4–5% of all fracturated patients, and they occur in 4–5% of politraumatized patients. In the most of the cases, they are consequent to high-energy trauma with a high percentage of lesions of other organs (cerebral, thoracic, and abdominal lesions. The most of the patients (80%) who die are dying within the first hours after trauma for a massive hemorrhagic shock. When the pelvic fracture and the patient’s hemodynamic conditions are both unstable, osteosynthesis of the fracture is mandatory. Fracture stabilization should be performed within the first hour after trauma (as soon as possible), and it should be considered as part of the resuscitation procedure. We usually make an urgent stabilization of pelvic fracture with an anterior external fixator technique. We have revised all unstable pelvic fractures treated in our department (Orthopaedic Clinic Pisa University) from 2000 up to the 2005 to determine a correct treatment protocol for these lesions. Pelvic stabilization, reducing the pelvic volume and bleeding from the stumps of fracture, determines the arrest of the hemorrhage, as evidenced by the sharp decline in the number of transfusions in postoperative period. In these cases, there is an absolute indication for an urgent pelvic stabilization. Pelvic stabilization, whether temporary or permanent, allows to control the bleeding because it (1) leads to a reduction in the volume pelvis with a containment on the retro-peritoneal hematoma (2) reduces bleeding from the fracture fragments (3) reduces motility fracture promoting the blood clotting. The stabilization of the pelvis also makes it easier to manage the patient and his mobilization for the implementation of subsequent investigations. In our experience, external fixator accounts for its characteristics the gold standard approach for the urgent stabilization of these lesions, and, for most of them, it can be used as the definitive treatment. External fixation is a quick and easy procedure for pelvic fractures stabilization for surgeons with experience with this technique.

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