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Avulsion fractures of the pelvis, treatment, return to sport
Background and aim of the work: Fractures of the pelvis classically occur in adolescent during sports activities with forceful and repetitive contractions or passive lengthening acting on not yet ossified growth plates. Their misdiagnosis lead to disability, chronic pain and decrease of performances. Evidence based treatment guidelines do not exist; aim of this paper is to point out clinical outcomes, return to sport rates and complications of surgical and conservative approach. Methods: A systematic search based on MEDLINE database was performed in August 2017 to identify all published articles from 2010 to 2017 reporting outcomes, return to sport and complications rates after surgical and non-operative treatment of avulsion fractures of the pelvis. Results: Mean age was 14,5 years with anterior inferior iliac spine avulsion representing the most common injury (46%), followed by anterior superior iliac spine avulsion (32%), ischial tuberosity avulsion (12%) and iliac crest avulsion (11%). Rates of excellent outcome and return to sports at pre-injury levels were higher after surgical treatment; surgery has a higher risk of heterotopic ossification (9%) compared to conservative treatment (1,8%), whereas the risk of non-unions is lower (0% versus 2,5%). Conclusions: Surgery is preferred for major dislocations and fragment sizes, providing a faster return to pre-injury level of activity, decreasing the risk of pseudoarthrosis. Conservative treatment is advisable for minimally displaced fractures when a rapid recovery is not required; patient and his family should be informed on the risk of non-unions and the eventuality of a delayed surgical approach.