Acetabular Fracture

What is an acetabular fracture, and how is it treated?

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An acetabular fracture, a complex injury affecting the hip joint, requires expert care and specialized treatment. In this article, we delve into the various aspects of acetabular fractures, including their definition, types, severity determination, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment options, potential complications, and the recovery process.

At OrthoNeuro, our dedicated team of experienced orthopedic specialists is committed to delivering personalized care that patients can trust. We specialize in the treatment of various hip conditions, including fractures of the acetabulum. Contact one of our convenient locations in Columbus, Ohio today!

Understanding Acetabular Fractures

An acetabular fracture refers to a break in the hip socket, known as the acetabulum, which is a crucial component of the pelvis. In the hip joint’s anatomy, the acetabulum forms the socket, while the upper end of the femur, called the femoral head, forms the ball. This ball-and-socket joint enables movement between the thigh bone and the pelvis, allowing for essential activities like walking.

Acetabular fractures can have a significant impact on mobility and function. It’s important to note that acetabular fractures are less common compared to other types of hip fractures, which typically occur in the upper femur or femoral head.

Types of Acetabular Fractures

Acetabulum fractures can occur on either side of the body and manifest in various patterns based on location, orientation, or a combination of factors. The types of acetabular fracture patterns include:

  • Anterior wall fractures: Involves a break in the bony rim (wall) of the hip socket.
  • Anterior column fractures: Involves a break in the front column of the bone of the hip socket.
  • Posterior wall fractures: Occurs when there is a break in the back of the bony rim (wall) of the hip socket.
  • Posterior column fractures: Occurs when there is a break in the back of the column of the hip socket.
  • Transverse fractures: Refers to breaks in the acetabulum bone that occur at a 90-degree angle or perpendicular to the bone’s long axis.
  • Comminuted fractures: Involves the bone breaking into more than two fragments.
  • Stress fractures: Small cracks that develop in the acetabulum bone due to overuse or repeated stress on the area.

By identifying the specific type of acetabular fracture, our orthopedic specialists at OrthoNeuro can customize the treatment approach to ensure optimal care for our patients.

Determining the Severity of Acetabular Fractures

The severity of an acetabular fracture depends on several factors, including:

  • Number and size of bone fragments: The extent of the fracture is influenced by the quantity and dimensions of the broken bone pieces.
  • Displacement of fragments: The degree to which the bone fragments are out of their normal alignment affects the severity of the fracture.
  • Damage to cartilage: Injury to the protective cartilage in the hip joint can impact the severity of the fracture.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Injuries to the surrounding muscles, tendons, nerves, and skin in the hip area can contribute to the overall severity of the fracture.

Particularly severe are open or compound fractures, where bone fragments protrude through the skin, increasing the risk of infection in both the bone and the wound.

Understanding the pattern and severity of the acetabular fracture is crucial for our healthcare providers in determining the appropriate treatment plan for each individual. By carefully assessing these factors, our experienced healthcare professionals at OrthoNeuro can provide tailored and effective treatment strategies to promote optimal healing and recovery.

Acetabular fractures can present the following symptoms:

  • Severe hip pain
  • Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected leg
  • Limited range of motion
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness

Common Causes of Acetabular Fractures

These fractures typically occur due to high-energy trauma, such as motor vehicle accidents, falls from significant heights, or sports-related injuries. However, they can also occur in low-energy trauma incidents, particularly in elderly patients.

How Are Acetabulum Fractures Diagnosed?

At OrthoNeuro, we employ a comprehensive approach to diagnose acetabular fractures. A thorough physical examination, coupled with advanced imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans, allows for an accurate assessment of the fracture’s location, extent, and associated injuries.

Tailored Treatment Options

OrthoNeuro offers a range of treatment options for acetabular fractures, based on the severity and specific needs of each patient. Non-surgical treatment options may include rest, a period of avoiding walking, and physical therapy to aid in recovery.

In cases of more complex fractures, surgical intervention may be necessary, involving techniques such as open reduction and internal fixation or total hip replacement. Our highly skilled surgeons at OrthoNeuro are adept at performing these procedures with precision and expertise.

Acetabular fractures can pose potential complications, including the following:

  • Post-traumatic arthritis
  • Sciatic nerve injury
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Infection
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Blood clots

What is Recovery Like from an Acetabulum Fracture?

Following surgery for an acetabular fracture, you will manage pain with prescribed medications. Initially, walking assistance such as crutches or a walker may be necessary. Partial weight-bearing may be possible after six to eight weeks, but full weight-bearing may take a few months. Continued use of walking aids may be required.

Early physical therapy will be recommended to restore hip movement and strength. Gradually, low-impact exercises like swimming or stationary biking may be incorporated. However, more strenuous physical activities should be avoided for six to 12 months.

Choose OrthoNeuro for Acetabular Fracture Treatment

At OrthoNeuro, we offer expert diagnosis, advanced treatment options, and personalized rehabilitation programs, all aimed at delivering exceptional outcomes and improving our patients’ quality of life. Our specialized expertise and patient-centered approach can guide you toward a successful recovery from acetabular fractures, including a posterior wall fracture. Contact us today at one of our multiple locations throughout Columbus, OH.

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