Anterior approaches in acetabular fractures: a true learning curve analysis


acetabular fracture, learning curve, ilioinguinal, modified Stoppa-Cole, reduction quality, complications

Published online: Apr 23 2024


Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble, CHU Grenoble, Service d’Orthopédie-Traumatologie, Grenoble, France


Today, acetabular surgeons in training have to learn ilioinguinal and anterior intrapelvic approaches (AIP). The aim of this study was to describe the 5-years learning curve of a surgeon. Objective was to assess clinical and radiological results; and to assess factors which could influence this learning curve. Between November 2015 and May 2020, patients with an acetabular fracture operated by the surgeon during the 5-years learning curve with an anterior approach were included in this single-center retrospective study based on a prospective database. Epidemiological, operative, clinical, radiological and complications data’s were collected. To assess learning-curve effect the series was divided into two groups: first 2.5-years and last 2-years. Subgroup analysis were performed according to the surgical approach, to the reduction quality and the prognostic factors. In total, 46 patients were included, 23 in period 1 and 23 in period 2. 16 patients (35%) had ilioinguinal approach and 30 patients (65%) had modified Stoppa-Cole approach. At mean follow-up of 24 months, 38 patients (83%) were reviewed. Anatomical reduction (< 1 mm) was achieved in 28 patients (60.9%) with a 9% rate of perioperative complications and 37% rate of post-operative complications. In conclusion, this study gives a realistic overview of the learning curve of anterior approaches in acetabular fractures surgery. Our results should encourage surgeons, while keeping in mind how much this surgery can be challenging, with high rate of complications and difficulty to obtain a systematic anatomical reduction.