Pelvic Ring Injury Is Associated With Sexual Dysfunction in Women : Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma

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Pelvic Ring Injury Is Associated With Sexual Dysfunction in Women

Vallier, Heather A. MD; Cureton, Beth Ann BS; Schubeck, Dianne MD

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Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma 26(5):p 308-313, May 2012. | DOI: 10.1097/BOT.0b013e31821d700e



Previous studies have reported a negative effect of pelvic trauma on genitourinary and reproductive function of women. However, fracture pattern, injury severity, and final fracture alignment have not been well studied. The purpose of this project was to describe sexual function in women after pelvic ring injury.


Cohort study: a prospective collection of sexual function data for women with prior pelvic ring injury versus control groups of uninjured women and other women from the orthopaedic trauma clinic.


Level I trauma center.


One hundred eighty-seven women younger than age 55 years with pelvic ring injury, including 101 B-type (61-B1: n = 25, B2: n = 69, B3: n = 7) and 86 C-type (61-C1: n = 56, C2: n = 18, C3: n = 12) fractures. Four had open fractures, and 23 had associated genitourinary injury.


Seventy-four were treated operatively. Surgical treatment was percutaneous in 62: iliosacral screws (n = 58), external fixation (n = 4), or both (n = 19). Open reduction and internal fixation was performed for the pubis symphysis (n = 27), sacroiliac joint (n = 2), and posterior ileum (n = 3).

Main Outcome Measurements: 

Sexual function questionnaires were completed for 92 patients (49%) with minimum 12 months and mean 46 months follow-up.


Forty-eight patients (56%) reported pain with intercourse. Their mean Musculoskeletal Function Assessment was 44.3 versus 20.9 without dyspareunia (P < 0.0001). Seventy-eight percent of patients with B-type fractures and 43% of patients with C-type fractures had dyspareunia (P = 0.002). Dyspareunia occurred after 91% of anteroposterior compression injuries (P = 0.02) and in 79% with a symphyseal disruption treated with plate fixation (P = 0.005). All patients with bladder ruptures (n = 5) reported dyspareunia. Sacral fracture or sacroiliac injury, type of posterior treatment, and residual malalignment of the posterior ring were not associated with dyspareunia. Fourteen patients each had associated femur fractures and/or tibia fractures. Seventeen of them had pain during intercourse (P = 0.19 for association of femoral or tibial fractures with dyspareunia).


Dyspareunia is common in women after pelvic ring fracture. Women with pelvic ring injury are more likely to report dyspareunia than other female patients with musculoskeletal trauma. Dyspareunia was related to anteroposterior compression and B-type injuries. Symphyseal plate fixation is also associated with dyspareunia. Pain with intercourse was also noted in all patients with a history of bladder rupture. Poor functional outcomes as measured by Musculoskeletal Function Assessment scores were reported in women with dyspareunia.

Level of Evidence: 

Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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