What is the pelvis?
The pelvis is your bone that is made up of your hip bones, tailbone, and the lower part of your spine (sacrum). It is a strong bone meant for carrying weight.
What is a pelvic fracture?
A pelvic fracture is a break anywhere within your pelvic bone. There are two types of fractures: stable and unstable.
- Stable: the pelvis can handle a normal force of pressure without a change in the pelvic form.
- Unstable: the pelvis is fractured in more than one place.
What tests will I need?
X-ray: a simple picture of the pelvis
CT scan (Computed Tomography Scan): a test that uses x-rays to obtain detailed pictures of the bones, tissues and organs.
How is it treated?
You will be seen and treated by a team of orthopedic specialists.
- Stable: you will be given pain medicines and you will have restrictions in the amount of walking or standing until your pelvic bone heals.
- Unstable: you will be given pain medicines and you will be on bed rest. Your injury may require surgery to repair.
What to expect while in the hospital?
At first, you will not be allowed out of your bed. If you have a stable fracture, physical therapy will instruct you on certain exercises that will help you keep you strength in your legs. Also, they will help you with walking. You may need a walker or crutches to help you get around. You will be given pain medicine.
If you have an unstable fracture, you will be on bed rest until the surgery. You will be prepared for surgery. After surgery, you will be given pain medicines. Physical therapy will work with you to help you walk and gain your strength back.
The pelvis is a large bone. When it is fractured, it can cause a large amount of bleeding. Your blood levels will be checked closely. Blood circulation may be compromised, so your pulses on your feet will be checked often.
You may develop problems with your digestion when you have a pelvic fracture. Since you are moving less than usual, and have had injury to your body, you may have problems moving your bowels. Constipation is a common problem. You may also develop an ileus, which is when your bowels stop moving. Your health team will give you medicines like stool softeners and laxatives to help keep your bowels moving normally. If you develop an ileus, you may need to stop taking in food or drink. You may need a thin tube placed down into your stomach to remove fluids until your bowels are working again.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 02/08/2010
Copyright © 02/05/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6993
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