Early failure of symphysis pubis plating

Jonathan Garland Eastman, James C. Krieg, Milton L Chip Routt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Introduction: Operative fixation of a disrupted symphysis pubis helps return alignment and stability to a traumatized pelvic ring. Implant loosening or failure has been demonstrated to commonly occur at some subacute point during the postoperative period. The purpose of this study is to report on a series of patients with traumatic pelvic ring disruptions to determine the incidence and common factors associated with early postoperative symphyseal plate failure before 7 weeks. Materials and methods: 126 patients retrospectively identified with unstable pelvic injuries treated with open reduction and plate fixation of the symphysis pubis and iliosacral screw fixation. Preoperative and postoperative radiographs, computed tomography (CT) images, and medical chart were reviewed to determine symphyseal displacement preoperatively and postoperatively, time until plate failure, patient symptoms and symphyseal displacement at failure, subsequent symphyseal displacement, incidence of additional surgery, and patient weight bearing compliance. Results: 14 patients (11.1%) sustained premature postoperative fixation failure. 13 patients had anteroposterior compression (APC)-II injuries and 1 patient had an APC-III injury. Preoperative symphyseal displacement was 35.6 millimeters (mm) (20.8-52.9). Postoperative symphyseal space measurement was 6.3. mm (4.7-9.3). Time until plate failure was 29. days (5-47). Nine patients (64.2%) noted a pop surrounding the time of failure. Symphyseal space measurement at failure was 12.4. mm (5.6-20.5). All patients demonstrated additional symphyseal displacement averaging 2.6. mm (0.2-9.4). Two patients (14.2%) underwent revision. Four patients (28.5%) were non-compliant. Conclusion: Premature failure of symphysis pubis plating is not uncommon. In this series, further symphyseal displacement after plate failure was not substantial. The presence of acute symphyseal plate failure alone may not be an absolute indication for revision surgery. Making patient education a priority could lead to decreased postoperative non-compliance and potentially a decreased incidence of implant failure. Posterior pelvic ring fixation aides overall pelvic ring stability and may help minimize further displacement after early postoperative symphyseal plate failure. Further functional outcome and biomechanical studies surrounding early symphyseal plate failure are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 8 2016


  • Early failure
  • Pelvic implant
  • Pelvic ring
  • Symphysis plate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Early failure of symphysis pubis plating'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this