External iliac artery thrombosis following open reduction of acetabular fracture: a case report and literature review

Norio Yamamoto, Tomoyuki Noda, Taichi Saito, Takenori Uehara, Yasunori Shimamura, Toshifumi Ozaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Postoperative thrombosis of the external iliac artery (EIA) following open reduction and internal fixation for acetabular fracture is extremely rare. Purpose: To report a patient with EIA thrombosis following open reduction and internal fixation using the modified ilioinguinal approach for acetabular fractures. Study design: This is a case report of a 69-year-old male with a left acetabular fracture who was treated surgically. Methods: A 69-year-old male presented with left hip pain after a 1.5-m fall. Radiographs revealed left acetabular anterior wall and posterior hemitransverse fractures with dome impaction. Computed tomography (CT) showed atherosclerotic changes in many arteries. Open reduction and internal fixation were performed using the modified ilioinguinal approach. Adhesion around the external iliac vessels was severe, and the external iliac vein (EIV) ruptured during exposure. After EIV repair, anatomical reduction was achieved and the fracture was fixed using a reconstruction plate. Nine hours after surgery, the left lower limb showed acute ischemic symptoms. Contrast-enhanced CT indicated complete occlusion of the left EIA. The patient was immediately taken for a thrombectomy via EIA cut-down using a Fogarty catheter. Postoperatively, he had palpable dorsalis pedis and posterior tibial pulses; however, post-reperfusion compartment syndrome developed. Fasciotomy of the left leg was performed. Results: At the 2-year and 4-month follow-up, he was pain-free in his hip and leg. Although he was walking with a cane, activity was limited due to a mild foot drop. Conclusions: It is very important for surgeons to consider EIA thrombosis as a potential complication following open reduction and internal fixation. In this case, EIA thrombosis could be explained by preoperative atherosclerotic changes and intraoperative vascular handling procedures. Preoperative screening and management, and meticulous surgical procedures are necessary for patients with a high risk of thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-485
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Acetabular fracture
  • External iliac artery
  • External iliac vein
  • Ilioinguinal approach
  • Occlusion
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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