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Open reduction and internal fixation of a traumatic diastasis of the pubic symphysis


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The aim of this study was to review the number of patients operated on for traumatic disruption of the pubic symphysis who developed radiological signs of movement of the anterior pelvic metalwork during the first post-operative year, and to determine whether this had clinical implications. A consecutive series of 49 patients undergoing internal fixation of a traumatic diastasis of the pubic symphysis were studied. All underwent anterior fixation of the diastasis, which was frequently combined with posterior pelvic fixation. The fractures were divided into groups using the Young and Burgess classification for pelvic ring fractures. The different combinations of anterior and posterior fixation adopted to stabilise the fractures and the type of movement of the metalwork which was observed were analysed and related to functional outcome during the first post-operative year.

In 15 patients the radiographs showed movement of the anterior metalwork, with broken or mobile screws or plates, and in six there were signs of a recurrent diastasis. In this group, four patients required revision surgery; three with anterior fixation and one with removal of anterior pelvic metalwork; the remaining 11 functioned as well as the rest of the study group.

We conclude that radiological signs of movement in the anterior pelvic metalwork, albeit common, are not in themselves an indication for revision surgery.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr S. E. Putnis; e-mail: svenputnis@doctors.org.uk

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