Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 470, Issue 8, pp 2142–2147

What Is the Infection Rate of the Posterior Approach to Type C Pelvic Injuries?

Symposium: Disruptions of the Pelvic Ring: An Update



Pelvic ring injuries with complete disruption of the posterior pelvis (AO/OTA Type C) benefit from reduction and stabilization. Open reduction in early reports had high infectious complications and many surgeons began using closed reduction and percutaneous fixation. Multiple smaller studies have reported low infection rates after a posterior approach, but these rates are not confirmed in larger series of diverse fractures.


We therefore determined (1) the incidence of surgical site infectious complications after a posterior approach to the pelvis; and (2) whether secondary procedures other than surgical débridement are necessary as a result of the approach-related complications.


We retrospectively reviewed all 236 patients (268 surgical approaches) with C type injuries treated with a posterior approach at six institutions before 1998 and at one institution from 1998 to 2005. Posterior injuries were classified anatomically as described by Letournel and the AO/OTA system. We recorded wound complications after surgery.


Surgical site infection occurred in eight of the 236 patients (3.4%) in the multicenter analysis. Treatment consisted of surgical débridement, wound closure, and antibiotics. No patients required soft tissue reconstruction as a result of the approach or infection.


Our data suggest with proper patient selection and the described surgical technique, there should be minimal risk for catastrophic wound complications or high infection rates as reported by others.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsLoyola University Medical CenterMaywoodUSA
  2. 2.Carolinas Medical CenterCharlotteUSA
  3. 3.Hip and Pelvic InstituteSanta MonicaUSA

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