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Definition

A pelvic fracture is defined as one or more breaks, also known as fractures, of the bones that make up the pelvis. This is a serious condition that requires immediate care from your doctor.

Pelvic Trauma

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Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Pelvic fractures are caused by:

  • Falls
  • Major impacts to the body, such as motorcycle or car accidents
Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The following factors increase your chance of developing pelvic fractures:

Symptoms

Symptoms of a pelvic fracture include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain upon walking, or inability to walk
  • History of trauma in young children
Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a doctor who is a trauma specialist and/or a doctor who is a bone specialist. If you are in a car accident, you will probably be taken to a hospital emergency room which is prepared for such situations.

Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests

Your bodily structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with:

Treatment

You and/or your family should talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. A pelvic fracture is a serious injury that may be complicated by injuries to other parts of your body. Treatment first focuses on stopping any internal or external bleeding, then on the diagnosis and treatment of both the pelvic fracture and any associated injuries.

Many people need surgery to repair their pelvic fractures or other injuries. Splints and casts may also be used to limit movement during recovery. Blood transfusions and antibiotics may be part of the early care. Early fracture stabilization, bedrest, and appropriate physical therapy and other rehabilitation care are important to making a good recovery, which will usually take months.

If you are diagnosed with a pelvic fracture, follow your doctor's instructions .

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of getting pelvic fractures, take the following steps:

  • Prevent falls by using a stool or stepladder to reach high places. Add handrails along stairways and place nonslip mats in your bathroom, shower, and under carpets.
  • Lower your chance of injuries due to car and motorcycle accidents by always wearing your seatbelt. Never drive if you have been drinking, and don’t ride with anyone else who has either.
  • Always use safety precautions to avoid falls during high-risk sports, such as rock climbing and mountaineering.
  • Maintain your muscle strength, which will help to prevent falls.

RESOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

The American Pediatric Surgical Association, Resources for Parents
http://www.pediatricsurgerymd.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org

Women's Health Matters
http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

References:

Collinge C, Tornetta P III. Soft tissue injuries associated with pelvic fractures. Orthop Clin North Am. 2004;35(4):451-456.

Femoral shaft fracture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated March 12, 2013. Accessed August 22, 2013.

Frakes MA, Evans T. Major pelvic fractures. Crit Care Nurse. 2004 Apr;24(2):18-30.

Grotz MR, Allami MK, Harwood P, et al. Open pelvic fractures: epidemiology, current concepts of management and outcome. Injury. 2005;36(1):1-13.

Mohanty K, Musso D, Powell JN, Kortbeek JB, Kirkpatrick AW. Emergent management of pelvic ring injuries: an update. Can J Surg. 2005;48(1):49-56.

Quick TJ, Eastwood DM. Pediatric fractures and dislocations of the hip and pelvis. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2005;(432):87-96.

Tornetta P III, Templeman DC. Expected outcomes after pelvic ring injury. Instr Course Lect. 2005;54:401-407.



Last reviewed September 2013 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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