We aimed to identify variables associated with clinical and radiological outcome following fractures of the acetabulum associated with posterior dislocation of the hip. Using a prospective database of 1076 such fractures, we identified 109 patients with this combined injury managed operatively within three weeks and followed up for two or more years. The patients had a mean age of 42 years (15 to 79), 78 (72%) were male, and 84 (77%) had been involved in motor vehicle accidents. Using multivariate analysis the quality of reduction of the fracture was identified as the only significant predictor of radiological grade, clinical function and the development of post-traumatic arthritis (p < 0.001). All patients lacking anatomical reduction developed arthritis whereas only 25.5% (24 patients) with an anatomical reduction did so (p = 0.05).
The quality of the reduction of the fracture is the most important variable in forecasting the outcome for patients with this injury. The interval to reduction of the dislocation of the hip may be less important than previously described.