The clinical characteristics and management of paediatric pelvic fractures: a changing landscape based on skeletal maturity.
INTRODUCTION: Paediatric pelvic fractures (PPFs) are uncommon but signify serious trauma. A comprehensive multidisciplinary approach is needed due to a high number of associated injuries. This study aims to retrospectively analyse PPFs over a 5-year period and evaluate how advancing skeletal maturity changes fracture patterns and management plans. METHODS: The trauma database was retrospectively reviewed for pelvic fractures in patients aged ≤ 18 years. Radiographs and CT scans were used to classify pelvic injuries according to the modified Torode classification and determine the status of the triradiate cartilage (open: skeletally immature; closed: skeletally mature). Data collected also included the mechanism of injury, clinical and functional outcomes, and associated injuries. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify risk factors for associated abdominal injuries. RESULTS: 65 PPFs (2.8% of paediatric trauma admissions during the study period) were classified as type I (3.1%), type II (7.7%), type IIIa (32.3%), type IIIb (38.5%), type IV (18.5%) according to the modified Torode classification. The mean age was 13.41 ± 3.82. Skeletally immature children were more likely to be hit by a motor vehicle as a pedestrian (p < 0.001), be intubated (p = 0.009), acquire Torode type II (p = 0.047) and rami fractures (p = 0.037), and receive chest (p = 0.005) and head injuries (p = 0.046). Skeletally immature children were also less likely to acquire Torode type IV fractures (p = 0.018), receive surgical treatment for their pelvic injuries (p = 0.036), and had a faster time to full weight bearing (p = 0.013). Pelvis AIS score ≥ 4 (OR 5.3; 95% CI 1.3-22.6; p = 0.023) and a pedestrian accident (OR 4.9; 95% CI 1.2-20.7; p = 0.030) were risk factors for associated abdominal injuries. There was a strong association between a higher pelvic fracture grade and the proportion of patients with closed triradiate cartilage (p = 0.036), hospital length of stay (p = 0.034), mean pelvic AIS score (p = 0.039), a pelvis AIS score of ≥ 4 (p = 0.022), mean ISS (p = 0.003), an ISS score between 25 and 75 (p = 0.004), average time to FWB (p = 0.001), requirement of blood products (p = 0.015), and a motor vehicle accident (p = 0.037). CONCLUSION: PPFs occurring in skeletally mature and immature patients are significantly different in terms of mechanism of injury, fracture severity, fracture pattern, and management strategy. There is a high rate of associated injuries, necessitating an integrated multidisciplinary approach in paediatric trauma centres.