The accuracy of gap and step-off measurements in acetabular fracture treatment
SourceScientific Reports, 11, 1, (2021), article 18294
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 10: Reconstructive and regenerative medicine RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
The assessment of gaps and steps in acetabular fractures is challenging. Data from various imaging techniques to enable accurate quantification of acetabular fracture displacement are limited. The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of pelvic radiographs, intraoperative fluoroscopy, and computed tomography (CT) in detecting gaps and step-offs in acetabular fractures. Sixty patients, surgically treated for acetabular fractures, were included. Five observers (5400 measurements) measured the gaps and step-offs on radiographs and CT scans. Intraoperative fluoroscopy images were reassessed for the presence of gaps and/or step-offs. Preoperatively, 25% of the gaps and 40% of the step-offs were undetected on radiographs compared to CT. Postoperatively, 52% of the gaps and 80% of the step-offs were missed on radiographs compared to CT. Radiograph analysis led to a significantly smaller gap and step-off compared to the CT measurements, an underestimation by a factor of two. Approximately 70% of the residual gaps and step-offs was not detected using intraoperative fluoroscopy. Gaps and step-offs that exceed the critical cut-off indicating worse prognosis often remained undetected on radiographs compared to CT scans. Less-experienced observers tend to overestimate gaps and step-offs compared to the more-experienced observers. In acetabular fracture treatment, gaps and step-offs were often undetected and underestimated on radiographs and intraoperative fluoroscopy in comparison with CT scans. This means that CT is superior to radiographs in detecting acetabular fracture displacement, which is clinically relevant for patient counselling regarding treatment decisions and prognosis.
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