Investigation of bone quality of the first and second sacral segments amongst trauma patients: concerns about iliosacral screw fixation

Dane Salazar*, Sean Lannon, Olga Pasternak, Adam Schiff, Laurie Lomasney, Erika Mitchell, Michael Stover

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Iliosacral screw fixation has become a common method for surgical stabilization of acute disruptions of the pelvic ring. Placement of iliosacral screws into the first sacral (S1) body is the preferred method of fixation, but size limitations and sacral dysmorphism may preclude S1 fixation. In these clinical situations, fixation into the second sacral (S2) body has been recommended. The objective of this study was to evaluate the bone quality of the S1 compared to S2 in the described “safe zone” of iliosacral screw fixation in trauma patients. Materials and methods: The pelvic computed tomography scans of 25 consecutive trauma patients, ages 18–49, at a level 1 trauma center were prospectively analyzed. Hounsfield units, a standardized computed tomography attenuation coefficient, was utilized to measure regional cancellous bone mineral density of the S1 and S2. No change in the clinical protocol or treatment occurred as a consequence of inclusion in this study. Results: A statically significant difference in bone quality was found when comparing the first and second sacral segment (p = 0.0001). Age, gender, or smoking status did not independently affect bone quality. Conclusion: In relatively young, otherwise healthy trauma patients there is a statistically significant difference in the bone density of the first sacral segment compared to the second sacral segment. This study highlights the need for future biomechanical studies to investigate whether this difference is clinically relevant. Due to the relative osteopenia in the second sacral segment, which may impact the quality of fixation, we feel this technique should be used with caution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-308
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 28 2015


  • Iliosacral screws
  • Pelvic fracture fixation
  • Pelvic ring disruptions
  • Regional bone density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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