What is a Duverney Fracture?

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October 28, 2019
Edward Smith

What is a Duverney Fracture?

A Duverney fracture is a severe injury of the pelvis which can occur in a variety of settings. The pelvis is a complicated structure. The hip bones wrap around from the spine and come together at the front, fusing at a location called the pubic symphysis. The largest part of the hip bones is called the ilium, providing support to the femur. When a bone fracture takes place in the wing of the ilium, this is called a Duverney fracture.

The pelvis is responsible for protecting several important organs. These include the uterus, the bowel, the bladder, and numerous vital nerves and blood vessels. A Duverney fracture can place one or more of these organs at risk.

How Does a Duverney Fracture Happen?

There are several ways that someone might suffer a Duverney fracture. In general, this fracture occurs when someone sustains a direct blow to the side of the pelvis. Some of the common mechanisms include:

  • Bicycle Accident: If someone falls off the bicycle, they are prone to landing on their side. This leads to a direct blow to the iliac wing of the pelvis, leading to this fracture.
  • Auto Accident: Another common mechanism is an auto accident. In a T-bone accident, one or more doors of the car will bear the brunt of the impact. The person sitting on the other side of this door might sustain a direct blow to the pelvis, leading to a Duverney fracture.
  • Pedestrian Injury: A pedestrian injury can also lead to this type of fracture. If the car impacts someone at the level of their pelvis, it can lead to this fracture.

These are only a few of the many ways that this type of fracture can develop. Rapid diagnosis and treatment are essential.

How is this Fracture Diagnosed?

When someone sees a doctor following a serious accident like the one above, they will typically describe severe pain in their pelvis that makes it hard for them to walk. The doctor will immediately take an x-ray of the pelvis. Often, a few x-rays are taken from multiple views to make sure that nothing is missed. In many cases, a Duverney fracture can be diagnosed on an x-ray alone; however, a CT scan is typically required to look for other associated injuries. It is essential not to overlook these related injuries because they can be severe.

Associated Injuries with a Duverney Fracture

The pelvis provides protection for several major organs, nerves, and blood vessels. All of these are at risk when someone suffers a Duverney fracture. Some of the most common associated injuries include:

  • Damage to the Iliac Artery: This is one of the largest arteries in the body. If this artery is damaged by a bone fracture, this can lead to rapid internal bleeding. This can cause hemorrhagic shock and might be fatal.
  • Bowel Perforation: The bowel is at risk, snaking through the pelvis from top to bottom. If a bone fragment punctures a portion of the intestine, it can cause fecal matter to leak into the pelvic cavity. This can lead to sepsis and death.
  • Nerve Damage: The lumbosacral plexus is a vital bundle of nerves that runs through this area. If these nerves are damaged, it can be lead to permanent motor and sensory dysfunction.

Fortunately, all of these complications can be treated by a trained doctor or surgeon. With proper treatment, most people will make a full recovery.

Treatment of a Duverney Fracture

Some of these fractures can be managed without surgery. Other fractures, particularly those with associated injuries, might require surgery. If the fracture is displaced or open, it might require a surgical procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. Because walking is incredibly painful with this fracture, walking aids (such as crutches or a walker) are needed as the fracture heals and recovers. Typically, the recovery process will take a few months. In the end, most people with this fracture will make a full recovery.

Watch YouTube Video: Pelvic Fracture Overview. This video explains everything you need to know about a pelvic fracture.

Personal Injury Lawyers in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. A Duverney fracture is a severe injury of the pelvis. If you or someone you know has suffered a serious pelvic fracture due to the negligence of another person or entity, please contact me today at (916) 921-6400 and by calling (800) 404-5400 for friendly, free legal advice.

I am an honored member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum as well as the Top One Percent, which is a National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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Attribution of Picture: The picture at the beginning was located first on Pixabay and has been shown here with permission under the Creative Commons License.

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