The pelvis is the ring of bones located between the lower abdomen and the legs, secured by the coccyx (tail bone) and three hip bones. The pelvis’ main function is to bear the weight of the upper body while sitting and standing, as well as to protect internal digestive and reproductive organs. Because the pelvis is such an essential part of the anatomy, an injury to the pelvis, such as a fracture, can be a painful, debilitating and, if not properly treated, fatal ordeal.
Pelvic (or acetabular) fractures can be associated with sports injuries and slip & falls, but many pelvis breaks are the results of high impact forces such as occur during car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents.
Side effects of a pelvic fracture can include:
Internal organ damage
Swelling and bruising
If you have sustained an injury to the pelvis you must seek medical attention. Doctors will order X-ray and/or Computed Tomography (CT) scans to assess the extent of the damage.
Most pelvic fractures caused by high impact auto accidents will require surgical treatment. It is possible that the break will require external fixation, which is the process of installing pins and screws into the fractured bones to be attached to a frame of rods and clamps on the outside of the body; the purpose being to stabilize the break. Sometimes this procedure is enough, but if the fracture is severe there may be need for further surgery.
It is possible to make a full recovery following a pelvic fracture; however, an unstable fracture can take a long time to completely heal due to surrounding muscle damage. If you have sustained such an injury to the pelvis, you may experience sexual dysfunction, pain, and difficulty moving around. For more information on pelvic fractures, please see the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website.