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Vascular Safe Zones for Surgical Dislocation in Children with Healed Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease
Benjamin J. Shore, MD, FRCSC1; Michael B. Millis, MD1; Young-Jo Kim, MD, PhD1
1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hunnewell 221, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
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Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2012 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2012 Apr 18;94(8):721-727. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.K.00362
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Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease consists of idiopathic osteonecrosis of the femoral head, causing proximal femoral growth deformity. Recent advances in surgical technique have permitted safe surgical dislocation of the hip, allowing for correction of femoracetabular impingement. The purpose of this study was to characterize the location and number of lateral epiphyseal arteries supplying the femoral head in children with healed Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease.


This retrospective study included nineteen children (twenty-two hips) with a diagnosis of Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (the LCPD group) and a matched control group of seventeen children (twenty hips) with developmental hip dysplasia. All patients underwent high-resolution contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualize the path of the medial femoral circumflex artery and the lateral epiphyseal artery branches supplying the femoral head.


All patients in the LCPD group were classified as having Waldenström grade-4 disease. Their average age at the time of MRI was fifteen years (range, eleven to eighteen years). The lateral epiphyseal arteries reliably inserted on the posterior-superior aspect of the femoral neck from a superior-anterior to a superior-posterior position in both groups. An average of 2.63 (standard deviation [SD], 1.47) retinacular vessels were visualized in the LCPD group, compared with 5.20 (SD, 1.06) retinacular vessels in the dysplasia group (p < 0.0001).


The lateral epiphyseal arteries of the femoral head reliably insert in a narrow anatomic window on the femoral neck. Reperfusion of the medial femoral circumflex artery does occur in patients with Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease; however, the overall number of vessels is decreased as compared with that in patients with developmental hip dysplasia.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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