General Editor: Luiz Vialle

Authors: Carlo Bellabarba, Carlo Bellabarba

Spine Trauma Sacrum - A3

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1 Introduction top

Transverse lower sacral fractures with displacement may injure sacral nerve roots. If perineal sensation or sphincter tone is abnormal, surgical decompression may be indicated. This could involve laminectomy, and if deformity is significant, reduction and fixation of the sacral fracture.

Otherwise, ORIF is indicated for correction of severe deformity or as part of management for open fractures.

Plate fixation of transverse sacral fractures must be performed posteriorly and typically involves the use of two small plates.

The exposure is obtained through a posterior midline sacral approach.

2 Introduction top


This procedure is performed with the patient placed prone through a midline or paramidline approach.

3 Preparation of the fracture site top


Expose the entire fracture line. Identify and remove small bony fragments from the fracture zone. They may be located in the transforaminal region and hinder fracture reduction.


Sacral nerve root decompression

The complete fracture line has to be cleaned out and inspected.

Enhance the exposure by using a lamina (bone) spreader, and carefully placed bone hooks.

Extract bone fragments that may compromise the sacral nerve roots. Fracture reduction may be required to realign the sacral vertebral canal and restore anterior clearance for the neural elements.

4 Reduction top


The typical displacement is flexion with possible anterior translation of the distal fragment.


Preliminary fixation

The primary reduction maneuver typically involves the use of two pointed reduction forceps (Weber clamps).

The caudal fragment is grasped and pulled caudally to disimpact and permit reduction. Small elevators can be used to assist disimpaction.

Once reduced, the caudal fragment is clamped to the cranial fragment with pointed reduction forceps.

5 Planning of the internal fixation top


Safe placement of screws avoids the spinal canal and sacral foramina by using the illustrated lateral entry points proximal and distal to the fracture bilaterally. These are lateral to the sacral foramina and nerve roots, or between and in line with the sacral foramina.

6 Plate application top


Fixation is performed with two (bilateral) small fragment plates (4-6 holes). Locking plates may provide enhanced stability.

7 X-ray control top


Preoperative lateral CT-view.


Postoperative lateral X-ray view.

Confirm satisfactory reduction and hardware placement on AP & lateral views.

v1.0 2016.01.01