To determine factors associated with nerve injury after acetabulum fracture and to evaluate recovery and outcomes.
Retrospective cohort study.
Level 1 trauma center.
Patients and Participants:
Nine hundred seventy-five skeletally mature patients with acetabulum fracture.
Operative and nonoperative management.
Main Outcome Measurements:
Nerve injuries, categorized as traumatic or iatrogenic, recovery (none, partial, or complete), and patient-reported functional outcomes with the Musculoskeletal Function Assessment (n = 353, 36.2%).
Thirty-two patients (3.3%) experienced nerve injury with 24 (78%) resulting from trauma and 23 with an associated posterior hip dislocation. Eight injuries (25%) were iatrogenic. Thirty-one (97%) occurred in patients with operative fractures (n = 738). The most common fracture pattern associated with nerve injury was transverse posterior wall (31% of injuries). Obesity was more common in patients with nerve injuries (59% vs. 30% in those without nerve injury (P = 0.001), but was not related to age or sex. Sixty-five percent of sciatic nerve injuries were to the common peroneal division only, while none were isolated to the tibial division. All iatrogenic injuries occurred after the ilioinguinal approach (P < 0.001). Overall, 50% experienced partial nerve recovery and 22% had complete recovery. However, 24% of patients with sciatic or common peroneal injuries had no recovery. Thirty-three percent of tobacco smokers experienced no recovery (vs. 26% of nonsmokers). Average Musculoskeletal Function Assessment scores for patients with nerve injuries was 32, similar to those without (33).
Posterior acetabulum fracture dislocations are associated with traumatic nerve injury, although 25% of nerve injuries were iatrogenic. Nerve injuries are more common in obese patients. More than one-quarter of patients had no recorded nerve recovery.
Level of Evidence:
Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.