Executive Editor: Peter Trafton

Authors: Rahul Banerjee, Peter Brink, Matej Cimerman, Tim Pohlemann, Matevz Tomazevic

Pelvic ring - A1 Nonoperative

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Glossary

1 Introduction top

The decision for operative or nonoperative treatment of pelvic ring injuries is based on:

  • Fracture stability, displacement, and pattern
  • Patient factors
  • Surgical skill and availability of equipment

Pelvic ring stability is assessed by the type and location of fractures and joint injuries involving the pelvic ring.

2 Treatment top

Goal of treatment

These fractures are stable fractures and typically do not require operative treatment. The exception is selected apophyseal avulsions. In these cases reduction and internal fixation is performed.

The goals of nonoperative treatment are:

  • Satisfactory fracture healing
  • Recovery of function
  • Patient comfort
  • In an appropriate time frame

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Mobilization

Mobilization can often begin early but should be individualized. Even in a bed bound patient, exercises to avoid stiffness and promote muscle function are advisable.

As soon as the patient is mobile enough, and comfortable enough, discharge from hospital should be possible and encouraged (depending upon other injuries).


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Weight bearing

Weight bearing must be individualized but initial protection, using crutches or a walker, is advocated. This can be gradually decreased as comfort and healing permit.

Most of these pelvic fractures become increasingly stable by 6 weeks, and most are securely healed by 3 months. A helpful approach is to accept permissive weight bearing, permitting the patient to bear weight according to tolerance.


Physiotherapy

Outpatient rehabilitation should maintain and increase mobility and muscle strength. Contractures should be avoided.


Follow up

Patients should be seen at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months after injury. Follow up X-rays are obtained at these visits to assess fracture healing.


Persistent pain

Patients with persistent pain (especially low back pain), require special attention to exclude undiagnosed unstable fracture patterns, and/or nonunions. If pain has not resolved by 3 months or more, CT scans or other advanced imaging may be advisable.

2016-10-20