Executive Editor: Peter Trafton

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

Pelvic ring - Iliac fractures

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1 Introduction top


Fractures of the ilium that disrupt the continuity of the pelvic ring result in an unstable hemipelvis. Iliac fractures commonly occur in the posterior portion of the ilium as the bone is the weakest in this region.

Unstable iliac fractures are distinct from pure iliac fractures that do not disrupt pelvic ring stability. Fractures of the ilium may extend into the sacroiliac joint but these fracture types are addressed elsewhere. Iliac fractures that involve the acetabulum are described in the acetabulum module.

2 Patient preparation and approach top


Patient preparation

This procedure is performed with the patient in a supine position.



For this procedure an anterior approach to the iliac wing and SI joint is used.

3 Reduction top

Options for reduction

Options for reduction include closed and open reduction techniques. The decision for open or closed reduction is dependent on the fracture pattern, patient anatomy, and surgeon's preference.


Closed reduction techniques

Schanz screws may be inserted percutaneously under X-ray guidance into the ilium and the fracture fragments.

These screws can be used as joy sticks for manipulating individual fragments.


Open reduction techniques

A variety of reduction tools may be used to manipulate the fracture fragments.

A clamp (eg Farabeuf) may be used to grasp the iliac crest to manipulate and reduce the fragment.

A ball spike pusher may also be used to aid in reduction. The ball spike may be placed along the pelvic brim (as illustrated) or alternatively, the ball spike may be placed at the anterior inferior iliac spine directed posteriorly.


Schanz screw

A Schanz screw (joy stick) may be inserted into a fragment of the iliac wing for reduction of the fracture fragment.


Use of pointed reduction forceps

Another method to aid in reduction is to use a pointed reduction clamp at the iliac crest to manipulate and reduce the fracture fragment.


Use of a Farabeuf or Jungbluth clamp

Alternatively, screws may be placed into the fracture fragments and grasped using either a Farabeuf or a Jungbluth clamp to achieve reduction.


Assessment of reduction

For closed techniques, the reduction is verified with X-rays in multiple planes.

For open techniques, the reduction is verified with X-rays and also by palpation. Palpate the reduction along the ilium and at the pelvic brim.

4 Fixation top

Options for fixation

After reduction is achieved, the fracture may be stabilized with plates and/or interfragmentary lag screws.

The choice of fixation is dependent on the fracture pattern, anatomy, and surgeon's preference.


Insertion of a contoured plate for stabilization

Plates are applied with balanced fixation on both sides of the fracture. The best bone for fixation is along the iliac crest and adjacent to the pelvic brim. Between these regions, the bone is thin and it is difficult to achieve satisfactory fixation.


After reduction, a contoured reconstruction plate may be placed along the iliac crest.
The plate may be placed on the inner surface of the ilium (a) spanning the fracture lines with ideally two screws on each side of the fracture.

A plate may also be applied across the fracture, in compression mode, at the level of the pelvic brim (b).


Alternatively, a plate may be applied directly to the superior surface of iliac crest. (The other plate is on the pelvic brim.)


Intramedullary screws for fixation of the crest

Fracture lines that extend to the iliac crest may be stabilized with 3.5 mm interfragmentary lag screws.

These screws are placed in an intramedullary fashion between the inner and outer table of the ilium.


Depending on the fracture pattern, a combination of intramedullary screws and plates may be used.

Another method of fixation is a long intramedullary lag screw that is placed from the anterior inferior iliac spine extending to the posterior ilium. This is typically a 6.5 mm or 7.3 mm partially threaded cannulated screw.



After completion of internal fixation, confirm the final reduction and hardware position intraoperatively by AP, inlet and outlet radiographic imaging.

v1.0 2015-12-10