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Radiographic Findings After Pubic SymphysiotomyMean Time to Follow-up of 41.6 Years
John G. Galbraith, MB, MD, MRCS1; Kevin P. Murphy, MB1; Joseph F. Baker, MB, MCh, MRCS1; Pat Fleming, MB, FRCSI1; Nina Marshall, MB1; James A. Harty, MB, FRCSI1
1 Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery (J.G.G., J.F.B., P.F., and J.A.H.) and Department of Radiology (K.P.M. and N.M.), Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. E-mail address for J.A. Harty: jaharty@hotmail.com
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Investigation performed at Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland

Peer Review: This article was reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief and one Deputy Editor, and it underwent blinded review by two or more outside experts. The Deputy Editor reviewed each revision of the article, and it underwent a final review by the Editor-in-Chief prior to publication. Final corrections and clarifications occurred during one or more exchanges between the author(s) and copyeditors.

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2014 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2014 Jan 01;96(1):e3 1-7. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.01732
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Pubic symphysiotomy is a rarely performed procedure in which the pubic symphysis is divided to facilitate vaginal delivery in cases of obstructed labor. Recently, many obstetricians have shown renewed interest in this procedure. The purpose of this paper is to report the long-term radiographic findings for patients who had undergone pubic symphysiotomy compared with the radiographic appearance of a group of age-matched and parity-matched controls.


This was a retrospective case-control study. Twenty-five women who had previously undergone pubic symphysiotomy for childbirth were compared with twenty-five age-matched and parity-matched controls. The radiographic parameters recorded included pubic symphysis width, pubic symphysis translation, grade of sacroiliac joint osteoarthritis, and presence of parasymphyseal degeneration.


The mean time to follow-up after symphysiotomy was 41.6 years (range, twenty-two to fifty-five years). The symphysiotomy group had a significantly higher proportion of patients (80%) with high-grade sacroiliac joint osteoarthritis (Grade 3 or 4 according to the Kellgren and Lawrence osteoarthritis scoring system) than the control group (16%) (p < 0.001). Within the symphysiotomy group, patients with high-grade sacroiliac joint osteoarthritis tended to be older, have a longer time to follow-up, and have a larger pubic symphysis width. The control group had a higher prevalence of parasymphyseal degeneration than did the symphysiotomy group (p = 0.011).


Late-onset sacroiliac joint osteoarthritis secondary to pelvic instability was a major finding in this study and, to our knowledge, has not been discussed previously in the literature regarding pubic symphysiotomy.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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    Abdellatif ElAlwany MD
    Posted on January 10, 2014
    Pelvic Stability
    Consultant of Orthopedics, ElSahel Teaching Hospital, Cairo, Egypt

    Important paper to show importance of symphysis pubis stability to avoid sacro-iliac OA .

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