We have retrospectively reviewed the clinical and radiological results in 204 consecutive adult patients who had surgical correction of 70 late post-traumatic pelvic nonunions and 134 malalignments. The deformed pelvises were subdivided into united (true), unstable, ununited, and partially stable malalignments with heterotopic bone. The principal complaints were of pain, pelvic instability, sitting imbalance, and apparent limb-length discrepancy. After surgery, 195 patients (96%) achieved a primary union and 144 (71%) had slight, intermittent or no pelvic pain, while pelvic instability was entirely eliminated. Overall, 131 patients (64.2%) were extremely satisfied, 58 (28.4%) were satisfied and 15 (7.4%) were unsatisfied. After reconstruction of the malaligned pelvises, 67 results (50%) were anatomical, 47 (35%) were satisfactory and 20 (15%) were unsatisfactory. For a pelvic nonunion with local osteopenia and malalignment, stabilisation of all three pelvic columns is recommended. True pelvic (united) malunions were the most satisfactorily realigned and had the fewest complications. Ununited and unstable malalignments, especially those with heterotopic bone, had the poorest corrections and the most neurological complications. A therapeutic alternative, by the local resection of a symptomatic bony prominence, and fixation in situ of a posterior pelvic nonunion, gives highly effective symptomatic relief with fewer complications. Despite this, many patients had persistent low back pain.
- Received March 18, 2002.
- Accepted May 10, 2002.
- © 2003 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery