Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 470, Issue 9, pp 2394–2401

Varus Femoral Osteotomy Improves Sphericity of the Femoral Head in Older Children With Severe Form of Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease

Symposium: Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease: Where Do We Stand After 100 Years?



In the Norwegian prospective study on Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD), we found varus femoral osteotomy gave better femoral head sphericity at a mean of 5 years postoperative than physiotherapy in children older than 6.0 years at diagnosis with femoral head necrosis of more than 50%. That study did not include separate analyses for hips with 100% necrosis and those with a percentage of necrosis between 50% and 100%.


We asked whether (1) femoral osteotomy improves femoral head sphericity at followup in all patients with more than 50% femoral head necrosis or in selected groups only and (2) there is a critical age between 6.0 and 10.0 years over which femoral osteotomy does not improve the prognosis.


We treated 70 patients with unilateral LCPD, age at diagnosis of more than 6.0 years, and femoral head necrosis of more than 50% with varus femoral osteotomy between 1996 and 2000. We classified necrosis using the Catterall classification. We established a control group of 51 similar children who received physiotherapy. At the 5-year followup visit, the hips were graded according to femoral head shape: spherical, ovoid, or flat.


At 5-year followup, there was no difference between the treatment groups in radiographic outcome in Catterall Group 3 hips. In Catterall Group 4 hips, femoral head sphericity was better in the osteotomy group, with flat femoral heads in 14% compared to 75% after physiotherapy. The same trend toward better head sphericity occurred when the lateral pillar classification was used.


In children aged 6.0 to 10.0 years, in whom the whole femoral head is affected, femoral head sphericity 5 years after femoral osteotomy was better than that after physiotherapy.

Level of Evidence

Level II, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsOslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, and University of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of OrthopaedicsSørlandet HospitalArendalNorway

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