Malgaigne fracture

Last revised by Leonardo Lustosa on 2 Aug 2023

Malgaigne fracture is an unstable type of pelvic fracture, which involves one hemipelvis, and results from vertical shear energy vectors.

One of the clinical features is shortening of the leg on the affected side.

It comprises of two ipsilateral pelvic ring fractures, which are vertically oriented:

  • anterior to the acetabulum

  • posterior to the acetabulum

Most commonly there is disruption of the ipsilateral superior and inferior pubic rami and sacroiliac joint. Common variants involve the ilium or sacral wing rather than the sacroiliac joint. This results in an unstable lateral fragment, which contains the acetabulum.

Diastasis of the pubic symphysis and urethral injuries may coexist.

AP radiograph of the pelvis will generally demonstrate this pattern of injury. Additional inlet and outlet views can be performed to further demonstrate displacement of the hemipelvis. There is commonly cephalad displacement of the hemipelvis.

It is named after Joseph-François Malgaigne (1806-1865), a French surgeon.

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