1 Harborview Medical Center/University of Washington

2 Boston University/Boston Medical Center




Background: Conventional fixation methods of posterior wall acetabular fractures feature the use of plating and lag screws. However, fixation of posterior wall fractures with buttress plating alone offers potential advantages by avoiding the hardware complications related to hardware placement through the wall fragment. The purpose of this study was to examine if buttress plating alone, without screw fixation through the wall would be a viable method of treating these fractures. Our hypothesis was that this technique would not result in loss of reduction.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of consecutive series of patients with isolated posterior wall acetabular fractures treated by two independent surgeons at two Level I Trauma centers without screw fixation across the fracture (Boston Medical Center/Harborview Medical Center). Primary outcome measure was loss of reduction (“posterior wall escape”)

Results: All 72 fractures treated without a screw through the posterior wall fragment maintained reduction at an average of 1.6 years post-operatively. For fractures fixed with buttress plating alone, 92 % were reduced within 2 mm of being anatomic compared to 94 % of fractures that had screws cross the fracture.

Conclusion: The described buttress plating technique without screw fixation in the wall is an acceptable form of fixation for posterior wall acetabular fractures without the theoretical risk of intra-wall screw fixation.

Level of Evidence: Level III, Therapeutic-Investigating the results of a treatment

Keywords: posterior wall, acetabular fractures, buttress plating, loss of reduction, marginal impaction