What is an Acetabular Fracture?
An acetabular fracture is a break in the acetabulum (ball-and-socket portion) of the hip joint. It usually occurs during high-energy injuries.
Causes of Acetabular Fractures
Causes of acetabular fractures include:
- Automobile accidents
- Falls from heights
- Weak bones
Symptoms of Acetabular Fracture
Symptoms of an acetabular fracture include:
- Weakness due to nerve damage
- Tingling sensation
Diagnosis of Acetabular Fracture
Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and a physical examination of the hip will be performed. Your doctor may recommend the following diagnostic tests:
- X-ray: This study uses high-energy electromagnetic energy beams that produce images of the bones.
- CT scan: Special x-rays are used to produce images of any damage to the hip.
- MRI Scan: An imaging study that uses a large magnetic field and radio waves to detect any damage to the soft tissue.
- Bone scan: A nuclear imaging study that helps your doctor to detect any hidden stress fractures or bone disorders.
Treatment for Acetabular Fracture
Treatment for acetabular fracture includes:
- Medications: Your doctor will recommend over-the-counter pain medications to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Physical therapy: Your doctor will recommend special exercises and other techniques to strengthen the bones and muscles.
- Positioning aids: You will be advised to use a leg positioning device such as a knee immobilizer or abduction pillow to help support the restricted leg.
If non-surgical methods fail to improve the symptoms, surgery will be recommended based on the severity of the fracture. Surgical treatments can include:
- Total Hip Replacement: The damaged bone and cartilage are removed from the hip joint and replaced with artificial components.
- Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF): The fracture site is exposed, and internal fixation is performed with wires, screws, and nails that are attached to a metal plate placed inside the body.
- Traction: This method involves using a force to gently pull on the injured area to guide the fractured bone ends to their correction position. There are two methods of traction:
- Skin traction: Skin traction involves the attachment of traction tapes to the skin of the hip segment near the fracture.
- Skeletal traction: In skeletal traction, a pin is inserted through the bone and attached to ropes. Weights are applied, and you will be placed in a traction apparatus.