Dr. Mullis explains if an acetabular fracture can be treated by external fixation.
For pelvis fractures, we routinely do both internal and external fixation, depending on the injury. For an acetabular fracture, we really never would do external fixation.
Now, what might happen is you might be put in what’s called skeletal traction. And what that means is a pin is typically put through your thigh or leg while awaiting surgery, but then after surgery, that pin is removed and you have what’s called internal fixation where plates and screws are underneath the skin. But unlike a pelvis, we really wouldn’t treat an acetabular fracture with an external fixator.
About Dr. Mullis, M.D.:
Dr. Brian Mullis, M.D., is the Chief of Orthopaedic Trauma Service and Assistant Professor of Clinical Orthopaedics in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine. He has a special clinical interest in orthopaedic trauma and post-traumatic complications with a focus on pelvis and acetabulum fractures, peri-articular fractures of both upper and lower extremity, bone healing, nonunions, malunions, deformity and post-traumatic infections.