Elderly people with osteoporosis tend to be at risk for a pelvic fracture. Most pelvic fractures do not require surgery; however, severe fractures that separate the two sides of the pelvis and hip can lead to deformity, lack of bone healing, pain and impaired function if the problem is not addressed surgically. The metal plates and screws that hold the bone of the pelvis in place prevent displacement while healing occurs. Additionally, pelvic fractures occur in people who have been involved in a significant accident or fall typically involving a force of high-energy such as a car or cycling incident. The degree of injury can be life-threatening.
A high-energy type of pelvic fracture is often a life-threatening injury. Each pelvic fracture injury is unique to the individual and treatment is assessed on a case-by-case basis. The typical first step is to use an external fixator to stabilize the pelvic area, which involves inserting screws into the bones on each side of the pelvis and connecting to a frame outside the body. A patient suffering a pelvic fracture from a high-energy injury will likely require care for internal injuries once the pelvic area is stabilized. Extensive surgery and rehabilitation are expected for severe pelvic fractures.
Less complicated pelvic fractures may not require surgery. Bed rest and physical therapy may be recommended. However, if surgery is required surgical screws and plates may be required to hold the bone in place so it can heal. Age and the individual’s level of physical activity may affect the choice of procedure.