Operative treatment of acetabular fractures in an older population through a limited ilioinguinal approach

Devon M. Jeffcoat, Eben A. Carroll, Florian G. Huber, Ariel T. Goldman, Anna N. Miller, Dean G. Lorich, David L. Helfet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


Objectives: To compare treatment of acetabular fractures in elderly patients through a limited approach versus a standard ilioinguinal approach and assess changes in outcome and morbidity. Design: Retrospective cohort comparison analysis. Setting: Tertiary referral center. Patients/Participants: Between January 1992 and January 2006, 143 patients 55 years of age or older were treated for acetabular fractures. Of these, 41 were treated through either a traditional or limited ilioinguinal approach. Patients with unilateral surgeries and a minimum follow-up of 2 years were included. Intervention: Open reduction and internal fixation of acetabular fractures through a limited (lateral two windows) approach versus traditional three window ilioinguinal approach. OUTCOME MEASURES:: Radiographic assessment of healing, reduction quality, progression to arthritis and total hip arthroplasty, operative time, length of stay, complications, SF-36, Musculoskeletal Functional Assessment, and the Short Musculoskeletal Functional Assessment. Results: The two groups were equivalent in terms of preinjury comorbidities, mechanism of injury, type and severity of fracture pattern, time to surgery, length of hospitalization, and incidence of postoperative complications. The overall rate of secondary total hip arthroplasty was 26.8% and was equivalent between the two groups. Functional outcome scores were comparable. The use of the lateral two windows was associated with a significant reduction in both blood loss and operative time. Conclusions: The limited ilioinguinal approach to certain fracture patterns commonly seen in the elderly was associated with a decreased blood loss and surgical time. Moreover, there was no negative impact on outcomes in our cohort. The benefits of decreased blood loss and shorter operative time have a potential positive impact on management of these injuries. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-289
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • acetabular fracture
  • acetabulum
  • elderly
  • fragility
  • hip fracture
  • ilioinguinal
  • ilioinguinal approach
  • outcome

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