Objective: To describe in utero radiation exposures in pregnant patients undergoing acetabular fracture repair.
Design: Retrospective case series.
Setting: University-affiliated regional trauma center.
Patient/Participants: Eight pregnant patients with acetabular fractures treated over a 6-year period. There were an additional 518 acetabular fractures in nonpregnant patients treated during the same time period.
Intervention: Open reduction and internal fixation of the acetabulum fracture.
Outcome Measurements: None. This is a descriptive series reporting fetal radiation doses, fetal fluoroscopy exposure times, and fetal viability after treatment.
Results: The gestational age of the fetuses at presentation ranged from 5 to 26 weeks. Infant delivery averaged 27 weeks from the time of surgery and all pregnancies reached 36 weeks. Apgar scores were normal each child including 1 twin delivery. There were 4 posterior wall fractures, 3 transverse or posterior wall fractures, and 1 posterior column fracture. Intraoperative pelvic fluoroscopy averaged 39 seconds. There were no operative complications and fracture reductions were anatomic in 7 patients. Computed tomography scan of the pelvis conferred the greatest exposure risk to the fetus and fluoroscopy conferred the least. In each case that required a computed tomography scan of the pelvis, the calculated radiation exposure dose to the fetus was greater than 5 cGy.
Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate that with a team approach and the judicious use of radiographic imaging during the surgical care of a displaced acetabular fracture in the pregnant patient, minimal risk to the baby can be achieved in pursuit of acceptable articular reductions.