Abstract Background Acetabular fractures are quite challenging injuries for the orthopedic surgeon because of their low incidence and their deep and complex anatomy. The objective of this study was to evaluate surgeon-independent parameters that might influence radiographic outcome and early complication rates of high-energy acetabular fractures treated by open reduction and internal fixation via the Kocher-Langenbeck approach, the golden standard for posterior access. Methods One hundred sixty-seven consecutive patients (111 males and 56 females) with a mean age of 41.8 years and a mean follow-up period of 10 months were surgically treated by one experienced surgeon at a level I trauma center within 10 years. To quantify the radiographic outcome, the Matta, Brooker, and Epstein grades were used. Posttraumatic arthritis and avascular necrosis of the femoral head (defined as Helfet grades 3 or 4 and Ficat/Arlet stages 3 or 4, respectively) were evaluated. Furthermore, subgroup analyses according to fracture type, age, and gender were performed for each outcome measure and complication (infection, hemorrhagic shock, revision surgery, nerve damage, and need of a total hip arthroplasty). Results 65 A1, 34 A2, 51 B1, and 17 B2 fractures were identified according to the AO/ASIF classification. Of all patients, reduction was rated anatomic in 63.5%, imperfect in 22.2%, and poor in 14.4%. Degenerative changes were observed in 49.7%; 37.9% were affected by heterotopic ossification, 21.6% by posttraumatic arthritis, and 5.4% by avascular necrosis of the femoral head. Fifteen percent were diagnosed with a nerve damage, and 4.8% sustained an infection. Total hip arthroplasty was performed in 10.2%. Revision surgery due to secondary loss of reduction, seroma/hematoma, and wound infection was indicated in 6.0%. Conclusions Fracture type, age, and gender are prognostic factors for the surgical outcome after ORIF of high-energy acetabular fractures.