Pelvic Binder Utilization in Combat Casualties: Does It Matter?

William J. Parker*, Robert W. Despain, Adam Delgado, Carlos J. Rodriguez, Dean Baird, Eric A. Elster, Matthew J. Bradley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utilization of pelvic binders, the proper placement of binders, and to determine any differences in blood product transfusions between combat casualties with and without a pelvic binder identified on initial imaging immediately after the injury. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all combat-injured patients who arrived at our military treatment hospital between 2010 and 2012 with a documented pelvic fracture. Initial imaging (X-ray or computed tomography) immediately after injury were evaluated by 2 independent radiologists. Young-Burgess (YB) classification, pelvic diastasis, correct binder placement over the greater trochanters, and the presence of a pelvic external fixator (ex-fix) was recorded. Injury severity score (ISS), whole blood, and blood component therapy administered within the first 24-hours after injury were compared between casualties with and without a pelvic binder. Results: 39 casualties had overseas imaging to confirm and radiographically classify a YB pelvic ring injury. The most common fracture patterns were anteroposterior (53%) and lateral compression (28%). 49% (19/39) did not have a binder or ex-fix identified on initial imaging or in any documentation after injury. Ten patients had a binder, with 30% positioned incorrectly over the iliac crest. ISS (34 ± 1.6) was not statistically different between the binder and the no-binder group. Pubic symphysis diastasis was significantly lower in the binder group (1.4 ± 0.2 vs 3.7 ± 0.5, P < .001). There was a trend toward decreased 24-hour total blood products between the binder and no-binder groups (75 ± 11 vs 82 ± 13, P = .67). This was due to less cryoprecipitate in the binder group (6 ± 2 vs 19 ± 5, P = .01). Conclusions: Pelvic binder placement in combat trauma may be inconsistent and an important area for continued training. While 24-hour total transfusions do not appear to be different, no-binder patients received significantly more cryoprecipitate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-877
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Combat trauma
  • Pelvic binder
  • Pelvic fracture


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