Does Pelvic Embolization Increase Infection Rates in Patients Who Undergo Open Treatment of Acetabular Fractures?

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Evaluate the impact of pelvic embolization on postoperative infection rate after acetabular fracture fixation.


Retrospective study of 3 separate cohorts.


Level I Trauma Center.


Identified patients who underwent angiography of the pelvis as well as required an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) of an acetabular fracture. This group was compared to a control group of patients with an acetabular fracture, which did not undergo angiography, and underwent ORIF.


ORIF of an aectabular fracture with angiography ± embolization.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Deep infection rate.


Seventy-two patients remained for final analysis; 25 patients underwent embolization, 16 patients underwent angiography without embolization, and 31 patients did not undergo angiography. Two out of 25 (8%) patients developed infections in the embolization group, one deep infection and one superficial infection. Five out of 16 (31%) patients developed deep infections in the nonembolization group. Control group of patients who did not undergo angiography had a deep infection rate of 9.6%.


Despite previous reports of high infection rates after pelvic embolization, the deep infection rate was only 4% after embolization in our cohort. This suggests that concerns for higher rates of infection are not substantiated, and pelvic embolization should be performed when indicated.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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