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Prevalence of sacral dysmorphia in a prospective trauma population: Implications for a "safe" surgical corridor for sacro-iliac screw placement

Author(s): Hasenboehler Erik | Stahel Philip | Williams Allison | Smith Wade | Newman Justin | Symonds David | Morgan Steven

Journal: Patient Safety in Surgery
ISSN 1754-9493

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 8;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background Percutaneous sacro-iliac (SI) screw fixation represents a widely used technique in the management of unstable posterior pelvic ring injuries and sacral fractures. The misplacement of SI-screws under fluoroscopic guidance represents a critical complication for these patients. This study was designed to determine the prevalence of sacral dysmorphia and the radiographic anatomy of surgical S1 and S2 corridors in a representative trauma population. Methods Prospective observational cohort study on a consecutive series of 344 skeletally mature trauma patients of both genders enrolled between January 1, 2007, to September 30, 2007, at a single academic level 1 trauma center. Inclusion criteria included a pelvic CT scan as part of the initial diagnostic trauma work-up. The prevalence of sacral dysmorphia was determined by plain radiographic pelvic films and CT scan analysis. The anatomy of sacral corridors was analyzed on 3 mm reconstruction sections derived from multislice CT scan, in the axial, coronal, and sagittal plane. "Safe" potential surgical corridors at S1 and S2 were calculated based on these measurements. Results Radiographic evidence of sacral dysmorphia was detected in 49 patients (14.5%). The prevalence of sacral dysmorphia was not significantly different between male and female patients (12.2% vs. 19.2%; P = 0.069). In contrast, significant gender-related differences were detected with regard to radiographic analysis of surgical corridors for SI-screw placement, with female trauma patients (n = 99) having significantly narrower corridors at S1 and S2 in all evaluated planes (axial, coronal, sagittal), compared to male counterparts (n = 245; P < 0.01). In addition, the mean S2 body height was higher in dysmorphic compared to normal sacra, albeit without statistical significance (P = 0.06), implying S2 as a safe surgical corridor of choice in patients with sacral dysmorphia. Conclusions These findings emphasize a high prevalence of sacral dysmorphia in a representative trauma population and imply a higher risk of SI-screw misplacement in female patients. Preoperative planning for percutaneous SI-screw fixation for unstable pelvic and sacral fractures must include a detailed CT scan analysis to determine the safety of surgical corridors.
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