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Pelvic trauma

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Updated 2024 EAU guidelines for the diagnosis and management of pelvic trauma.


Key sources

The following summarized guidelines for the evaluation and management of pelvic trauma are prepared by our editorial team based on guidelines from the European Association of Urology (EAU 2024,2023), the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST/AOTA 2023), the Pan-European Multidisciplinary Task Force for Advanced Bleeding Care in Trauma (ABC-T 2023,2019), the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR 2020), the ...
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Classification and risk stratification

WSES classification: as per WSES 2017 guidelines, the WSES (WSES) classification divides pelvic ring injuries into three classes:
minor (WSES grade I) comprising hemodynamically and mechanically stable lesions. WSES grade I includes Anterior-Posterior Compression I and Lateral Compression I hemodynamically stable pelvic ring injuries
moderate (WSES grade II, III) comprising hemodynamically stable and mechanically unstable lesions. WSES grade II includes Anterior-Posterior Compression II-III and Lateral Compression II-III hemodynamically stable pelvic ring injuries. WSES grade III includes Vertical Shear and Combined Mechanism hemodynamically stable pelvic ring injuries
severe (WSES grade IV) comprising hemodynamically unstable lesions independently from mechanical status. WSES grade IV includes any hemodynamically unstable pelvic ring injuries.
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Diagnostic investigations

Physical examination
As per WSES 2017 guidelines:
Perform perineal and rectal digital examination in patients with a high suspicion of rectal injuries.
Perform proctoscopy in patients with a positive rectal examination.

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  • Laboratory testing

  • FAST ultrasound

  • Pelvic radiography

  • CT

  • Retrograde urethrocystography

  • Pelvic angiography

Diagnostic procedures

Diagnostic peritoneal lavage: as per EAST 2011 guidelines, diagnostic peritoneal lavage is the best test to exclude intra-abdominal bleeding in hemodynamically unstable patients.

Medical management

Pain management
As per AOTA/EAST 2023 guidelines:
Consider administering NSAIDs (such as ketorolac) for pain management in adult patients with a traumatic fracture.
Insufficient evidence to recommend the preferential use of either selective NSAIDs (COX-2 inhibitors) or nonselective NSAIDs.

Nonpharmacologic interventions

Pelvic binders: as per WSES 2017 guidelines, apply pelvic binders to stabilize the pelvic ring and decrease the amount of pelvic hemorrhage in patients with pelvic fractures who are undergoing initial resuscitation.
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  • Pelvic orthotic devices

Therapeutic procedures

Retroperitoneal pelvic packing: as per ABC-T 2023 guidelines, perform temporary extraperitoneal packing when bleeding is ongoing and/or when angioembolization cannot be achieved promptly. Consider combining extraperitoneal packing with open abdominal surgery when necessary.

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  • Pelvic angioembolization


Surgical interventions

Timing of surgery: as per WSES 2017 guidelines, resuscitate hemodynamically unstable patients and coagulopathic patients prior to proceeding with definitive pelvic fracture fixation.
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  • Damage-control surgery

  • External pelvic fixation

  • Internal pelvic fixation

Specific circumstances

Patients with kidney injury, evaluation: as per AAST/WSES 2019 guidelines, obtain eFAST to detect intra-abdominal free fluid.
recognize that eFAST has low sensitivity and specificity in kidney trauma.
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  • Patients with kidney injury (management)

  • Patients with ureteral injury

  • Patients with bladder injury

  • Patients with urethral injury