The Stoppa approach for acetabular fracture

A. Khoury*, Y. Weill, R. Mosheiff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Acetabular fractures pose a great surgical challenge for orthopedic trauma surgeons. We believe that the Stoppa approach with an iliac window extension, previously described as a modified Stoppa approach is adequate for the majority of acetabular fractures excluding those with predominant posterior wall involvement. In this paper we will present our experience in using the Stoppa approach, its indications, preparations, the detailed surgical approach, complications and the different tips used in this relatively modern approach.Indications. All simple and combined fracture types that involve the anterior column of the pelvis including the quadrilateral plate. Contraindications. Posterior wall or extensive posterior column involvement. Transverse and T-fractures with mainly posterior displacement.Surgical technique. Suprapubic, intrapelvic approach, extending from the symphysis pubis anteriorly to the sacroiliac joint posteriorly. Superficial landmarks are identical to the Pfannenstiel approach, the rectus abdominis muscles are longitudinally dissected, the symphysis pubis is exposed and a sub-periosteal deep surgical dissection is carried out along the anterior column and the quadrilateral plate, and posteriorly toward the greater sciatic notch and the sacroiliac joint.Results. In a 5-year review of 60 acetabular fractures that underwent open reduction and internal fixation using the modified Stoppa approach, there were 36% anterior column fractures, 28% both-column fractures, the rest being anterior column with posterior hemi transverse fractures, transverse and T-fractures. Any extension of the fracture to the iliac wing necessitated an additional lateral window (93% of cases). In cases with posterior displacement, an additional approach was utilized to address a posterior wall fracture. All fractures healed within 12 weeks. Mean Merle d'Aubigné score was 15.22. Postoperative radiological evaluation revealed anatomical reduction in 54% of the patients, satisfactory in 43%, and unsatisfactory in 3% of the patients. Overall there were 15 minor and major complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-448
Number of pages10
JournalOperative Orthopadie und Traumatologie
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetabular fractures
  • Osteosynthesis
  • Quadrilateral plate
  • Stoppa approach
  • Surgical approach to acetabulum


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