Orthostetrics: Management of orthopedic conditions in the pregnant patient

Leslie J. Matthews, David B. McConda, Trapper A J Lalli, Scott D. Daffner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Managing orthopedic conditions in pregnant patients leads to challenges that must be carefully considered so that the safety of both the mother and the fetus is maintained. Both perioperative and intraoperative considerations must be made based on physiologic changes during pregnancy, risks of radiation, and recommendations for monitoring. Operative timing, imaging, and medication selection are also factors that may vary based on trimester and clinical scenario. Pregnancy introduces unique parameters that can result in undesirable outcomes for both mother and fetus if not handled appropriately. Ultimately, pregnant patients offer a distinct challenge to the orthopedic surgeon in that the well-being of 2 patients must be considered in all aspects of care. In addition, not only does pregnancy affect the management of orthopedic conditions but the pregnant state also causes physiologic changes that may actually induce various pathologies. These pregnancy-related orthopedic conditions can interfere with an otherwise healthy pregnancy and should be recognized as possible complications. Although the management of orthopedic conditions in pregnancy is often conservative, pregnancy does not necessarily preclude safely treating pathologies operatively. When surgery is considered, regional anesthesia provides less overall drug exposure to the fetus and less variability in fetal heart rate. Intraoperative fluoroscopy can be used when appropriate, with 360° fetal shielding if possible. Lateral decubitus positioning is ideal to prevent hypotension associated with compression of the inferior vena cava.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e874-e880
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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