Does Prolonged Weight Relief Increase the Chances of a Favourable Outcome After Containment for Perthes Disease?

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We have been treating children with Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD) with a femoral varus osteotomy (PFVO) and weight relief till the disease evolves to the latter part of the stage of reconstitution (Stage IIIb). This entails weight relief for 18 to 24 months. We undertook this case-control study to test if a shorter period of weight relief would compromise the chance of retaining the spherical shape of the femoral head when the disease healed. Forty-one children diagnosed in the early stages of LCPD (Stages Ia, Ib, and IIa), were treated by PFVO and non-weight-bearing for a period of 6 months following surgery (6m group). Eighty-two children with LCPD matched for age, sex, and stage at surgery, who resumed weight-bearing only once they reached Stage IIIb, served as the control group (3b group). Both groups were followed up till the disease healed. The sphericity deviation score was calculated, and the height and width of the epiphysis were measured on the first radiograph designated as Stage IV. The median sphericity deviation score value at healing was 3 in the 3b group and 11 in the 6m group (P<0.001). The frequency of spherical heads was 76% in the 3b group and 49% in the 6m group (P<0.003). The Odds Ratio of the disease healing with an aspherical head in 6-month group was 3.05 (CI: 1.28 to 7.22) compared with the 3b group. The percentage increase in width of the femoral epiphysis at healing was greater in the 6 group (111.5±8.5% vs. 106.5±7.2%; P<0.001). The study confirms that containment by PFVO performed early in the course of LCPD combined with weight relief till the disease has evolved to Stage IIIb is likely to result in spherical hips in 75% of children. Reducing the period of weight relief to 6 months may yield significantly poorer results with only 49% spherical femoral heads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e144-e150
JournalJournal of pediatric orthopedics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-02-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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