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Operative Fixation of Acetabular Fractures in the Pregnant Patient

Porter, Scott E MD; Russell, George V MD; Qin, Zhen MS; Graves, Matthew L MD

doi: 10.1097/BOT.0b013e3181847a42
Original Article

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.

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS.

Accepted for publication June 24, 2008.

No industry support was received for this report. There were no new products tested. This manuscript does not contain information about medical devices.

Reprints: Scott E. Porter, MD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39216 (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.