Background: Pelvic lateral compression fractures are the most stable of the unstable fractures. Therefore, decision making regarding operative or non-operative therapy is still a matter of debate. Methods: Factors, influencing decision making for therapy, were explored based on prospectively collected register data of a single Level-1 trauma center. The analysis included epidemiological records such as age and gender, and injury characterizing parameters such as degree of displacement and the Injury Severity Score (ISS). In-hospital mortality and complications served as short-term outcome variables. After matching for relevant confounders, long-term results were compared between operatively and non-operatively treated patients, evaluating the Merle d'Aubigne and the EQ. 5D-3 L scores. Results: Over an 11-year period (2004-14), 134 patients suffered from lateral compression fractures out of 567 pelvic fractures (33%). After excluding patients with clear indications for operation (complex pelvic fractures and pubic symphysis ruptures) and pediatric fractures, 114 patients could be included in the analysis. Sixty-one patients were treated conservatively (54%), 53 with an operation (46%). The operated patients were younger (43.7 vs 58.3 years), had higher ISS (19.9 vs 15.5 points) and fracture displacements (2.3 vs 4.9 mm) (p < 0.001 for all). The length of hospital stay was shorter in the conservatively treated group (12.7 vs 17.3 days, p < 0.02). Although the types of complications were different, the incidence was not. The mortality was less in the operated group (1.9% vs. 6.6%), however, a logistic regression analysis showed that only the ISS was an independent risk factor, but not the type of therapy. Merle d'Aubigne and EQ. 5D-3 L scores were not different in the matched cohorts. Conclusion: Decision-making for operative therapy was favored in severely injured young patients with high displacement. However, short- and long-term outcomes showed no difference between operatively and non-operatively treated patients. Trial registration: DRKS, no. 00000488. Registered 14th July 2010 - Retrospectively registered.