The Role of Surgical Hip Dislocation in the Treatment of Acetabular and Femoral Head Fractures

Keel, Marius ; Eid, Karim ; Isler, Balz ; Trentz, Otmar ; Ertel, Wolfgang

In: European Journal of Trauma, 2005, vol. 31, no. 2, p. 138-147

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    Abstract : Background and Purpose: : Surgical hip dislocation by trochanteric flip osteotomy facilitates access to acetabular and femoral head fractures. Furthermore, it allows evaluation of cartilage damage and vascularity of the femoral head. In this study the potential benefits of this procedure for improved fracture management and for prognostic assessment were investigated. Patients and Methods: : From July 1997 to October 1999, 20 selected patients with displaced acetabular fractures (n = 12), femoral head fractures (n = 7), or combined injuries (n = 1) were included. Inclusion criteria for acetabular fractures were either displaced posterior wall fragments with cranial extension or complex acetabular fractures involving a displaced transverse fracture line. Open reduction and fixation of either complex acetabular fractures or femoral head fractures were carried out through Kocher-Langenbeck approach, trochanteric flip osteotomy, and complete surgical hip dislocation. Additionally, the extent of cartilage destruction and femoral head perfusion were assessed. Results: : Anatomic reduction (≤ 1 mm displacement) of acetabular fractures was achieved in 69% of patients and good reduction (≤ 3 mm) in 31%. In patients with acetabular fractures, severe cartilage destruction of the acetabulum was found in 38% and of the femoral head in 15%, while patients with isolated femoral head fractures revealed severe cartilage damage of the femoral head in 57%. Arterial bleeding from the femoral head, tested by drilling, was observed in all patients. Secondary dislocation of the trochanteric osteotomy occurred in one patient and made refixation necessary. Patients were reexamined at least 2 years after intervention. 77% of patients with acetabular fractures and all patients with femoral head fractures showed good or excellent results after 32.6 ± 6.1 months according to the functional score of D'Aubigné & Postel. Conclusion: : Surgical hip dislocation allows adequate reconstruction of complex acetabular and femoral head fractures and intraoperative evaluation of local cartilage damage and femoral head perfusion