Over a period of 20 years, 35 cases of fracture of the acetabulum involving both columns were treated by operation in our unit. These were followed up after a minimum of 8 to a maximum of 20 years. The Iselin approach, even when extended forwards by partial disinsertion of the gluteal muscles, allowed good reduction only when there was little or no displacement of the ilio-pubic column. In the other cases, it was necessary to use a combined anterior and posterior approach, or the Letournel approach, but the latter was reserved for cases with very severe displacement or comminution of the fragments when it is essential to have access and control of the iliac and acetabular complex in its entirety. The clinical and radiographic results of fractures involving both columns are not unlike those observed in other complex fractures of the pelvis: good reduction and osteosynthesis is synonymous with good function even in the long term.