Associated Injuries
Immediate Management
Definite Management
Post Operative Period
Complications :
Throughout treatment and recovery, doctors and nurses are watchful for the following potential complications:
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism: Blood clots that may form in the veins of the pelvis, thighs, and/or lower legs and may travel to the lungs.
  • Pneumonia: An infection of the lungs that may affect any patient who is confined to bed and cannot expand his or her lungs as fully as they normally do.
  • Skin Problems resulting from being in one position for a long period of time.
  • Muscle Complications due to inactivity.
  • Heterotopic Ossification, a condition in which the body mistakenly forms bone in an area where there is normally muscle; prompt treatment is required to prevent this new bone from interfering with joint movement.
  • Damage to the Head of the Femur: if the articular cartilage lining of the joint is affected in an injury to the pelvis, and particularly in fractures of the acetabulum, it's important to keep the surfaces of the joint from rubbing together-and to avoid the risk of future development of arthritis. Preoperatively, traction or a system of ropes, pulleys and weights are used to relieve pressure in the joint. Obviously, surgery with open reduction and internal fixation is performed to realign the joint with enough stability to allow immediate mobilization and hence preserve the smooth lining of cartilage and avoid subsequent arthritis. Avascular Necrosis of the Head of the Femur: Patients with a dislocated hip and/or fracture of the acetabulum may have disrupted blood flow to the head of the femur (the ball in the hip joint). This can result in death and collapse of bone tissue and hip joint arthritis.
  • Nutritional Problems: The body requires more protein and calories during healing.
  • Constipation resulting from inactivity
  • Infection at the site of the injury
Patients who have suffered a traumatic accident or injury may experience psychological distress over changes in their appearance and physical functioning. The shock of becoming an accident victim may also linger. As with a serious illness, the patient may wonder "why me" and be searching for reasons the accident occurred. Difficulty sleeping and coping with the pain associated with recovery are very common. Patients with pre-traumatic depression or experiencing other stressful life events are more prone to experience psychological difficulty connected with their fracture.

In many cases, the passage of time eases these symptoms. At HSS, patients and their families have telephone access to trauma nurses with extensive experience in this field. Often they are able to address the questions and concerns that arise. When necessary, the patient's physician may recommend contact with a social worker or psychologist.

The common complications of surgery for the acetabular fractures are:

  • Traction injury to the sciatic nerve
  • Wound hematoma
  • Wound infection
  • Intra articular implants
  • Heterotrophic ossification
  • Avascular necrosis of head of femur and of fracture fragments
  • Protrusio acetabuli
  • Early degenerative arthrosis
  • Implant loosening