There is little evidence describing the open treatment of displaced acetabular fractures in low-resource environments. We endeavored to determine the results of the operative management of acetabular fractures without intraoperative C-arm use in a developing nation, through the assessment of patient-reported outcome measures.
This was a prospective, single-surgeon, consecutive case series conducted in a tertiary referral hospital in Ethiopia, a high-population, low-income country. The primary author performed fixation without the use of a C-arm in 108 patients from among a total of 202 patients presenting with acetabular fracture. The modified Harris hip score (mHHS) and Short-Form Health Survey (SF)-36 at a minimum of 2 years postoperatively were used to assess the outcome.
Of the 108 patients potentially available for analysis, 92 (85%) were available for 2-year follow-up (mean age of 35 years; range, 15 to 70 years). The mean duration from injury to surgery was 16 days (range, 1 to 204 days). Seventy-three (78.5%; n = 93) of the patients had associated fracture patterns. The most common fractures were associated both-column type (22%) and transverse-plus-posterior-wall type (22%). The mean mHHS was 91; 88% of the patients had a score of ≥80, and 12% had a score of ≤79. SF-36 scores were in alignment with the mHHS. The majority (approximately 90%) of our cohort returned to work. We did not find a significant difference in the mean mHHS between patients with or without anatomic reduction (p = 0.31). However, 2-year radiographic outcomes were strongly associated with the mean mHHS (p < 0.001). Predictors of a lower mHHS included older age, cartilage damage, and lack of secondary congruence. Conclusions: Good functional outcomes were achieved at 2 years among patients with acetabular fractures surgically treated without the use of a C-arm in a limited-resource setting. Surgical congruence of the femoral head under the acetabular roof, rather than the absolute residual gap, seems essential in determining clinical outcomes. This information can help in planning increased access to care for individuals who experience traumatic injuries in low- and middle-income countries.