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What Is the Prevalence of Cam Deformity After Prophylactic Pinning of the Contralateral Asymptomatic Hip in Unilateral Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis? A 10-year Minimum Followup Study

Lerch, Till D., MD; Novais, Eduardo N., MD; Schmaranzer, Florian, MD; Ziebarth, Kai, MD; Steppacher, Simon D., MD; Tannast, Moritz, MD; Siebenrock, Klaus A., MD

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®: May 2019 - Volume 477 - Issue 5 - p 1111–1122
doi: 10.1097/CORR.0000000000000592

Background Prophylactic pinning of the asymptomatic and normal-appearing contralateral hip in patients with unilateral slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) remains controversial. Understanding the minimal 10-year clinical, functional, and radiographic outcomes of the contralateral asymptomatic hip in unilateral SCFE may be helpful in the decision regarding whether the benefits associated with potentially preventing a SCFE are outweighed by the risk of additional surgery.

Questions/purposes Among patients with SCFE treated with prophylactic pinning of the asymptomatic and contralateral hip, we sought (1) to determine the complications and reoperations; (2) to evaluate the development of cam deformities and the frequency and severity of osteoarthritis progression; and (3) to characterize hip pain and function as measured by the Harris hip score (HHS) and the Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (HOOS) at minimal 10-year followup.

Methods Between 1998 and 2005 all patients with SCFE seen at our institution were treated with the modified Dunn procedure and all were offered prophylactic pinning of the contralateral asymptomatic hip. Of the 41 patients who underwent the unilateral modified Dunn procedure and who had an asymptomatic contralateral hip, 37 patients (90%) underwent pinning of that contralateral hip. Of those, 33 patients (80%) were available for clinical and radiographic evaluation for this retrospective study at a minimum of 10 years (mean followup 12 ± 2 years) after surgery. Three patients of the 37 patients only had 10-year clinical followup, including questionnaires sent by mail and telephone, because they refused further radiographic followup and one patient was lost to followup. The group included 19 males and 17 females whose age at surgery was a mean of 13 ± 2 years. Medical charts were reviewed and patients were asked about complications and additional surgical procedures. Most recent postoperative radiographs were evaluated for measurement of the alpha angle, head-neck offset, epiphysis orientation, and osteoarthritis grading according to Tönnis classification and minimum joint space width. The presence of a cam deformity was defined by an alpha angle measurement > 60° on the AP radiograph and/or > 55° on the lateral radiograph. Hip function and pain were assessed by the HHS and HOOS outcome measures.

Results No complications with prophylactic in situ pinning were recorded. Four of 36 (11%) patients underwent subsequent surgical treatment for cam-type femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), and hardware removal was performed in four hips (11%). The mean alpha angle was 53° ± 8° on the AP radiograph and 49° ± 8° on the lateral view at followup. In total, 10 of 33 hips (30%) had a cam morphology at the femoral head-neck junction and four (12%) were symptomatic and underwent FAI surgery. Six of 33 patients (18%) developed an asymptomatic cam morphology at the femoral head-neck junction; in three of 33 hips (9%), the cam deformity instead of lesion were visible only on the lateral projection, and 9% were visible on both the AP and lateral projections. The preoperative offset of the femoral head-neck junction was 10 ± 3 mm on the AP view and 11 ± 4 mm on the lateral view. At followup, the AP offset was 7 ± 3 mm and the lateral offset was 6 ± 3 mm, and on the lateral view, the offset was < 10 mm in eight hips (22%). No patient had radiographic signs of hip osteoarthritis (Tönnis Grade 0). The mean minimum joint space width was 4 ± 0.4 mm. The mean HHS for the 32 patients who did not undergo subsequent surgery was 97 ± 5 at latest followup. The mean postoperative HOOS was 94 ± 8 for the 32 patients at latest followup.

Conclusions At a minimum followup of 10 years after prophylactic pinning of a contralateral asymptomatic hip, most patients achieve excellent hip scores; however, a substantial proportion will develop a symptomatic cam deformity despite prophylactic pinning. No patient had signs of osteoarthritis at a minimum of 10 years, but almost one-third of the patients who underwent prophylactic pinning developed a cam deformity.

Level of Evidence Level IV, therapeutic study.

T. D. Lerch, F. Schmaranzer, S. D. Steppacher, M. Tannast, K. A. Siebenrock, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Inselspital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

E. N. Novais, Department of Pediatric Orthopedic surgery, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

K. Ziebarth, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Inselspital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

T. Lerch, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Inselspital, Freiburgstrasse, 3010 Bern, Switzerland, email:

The institution of one or more of the authors (MT) has received, during the study period, funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Each author certifies that neither he, nor any member of his immediate family, has funding or commercial associations (consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.

All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® neither advocates nor endorses the use of any treatment, drug, or device. Readers are encouraged to always seek additional information, including FDA approval status, of any drug or device before clinical use.

Each author certifies that his institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.

This work was performed at the University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Received July 30, 2018

Accepted November 12, 2018

© 2019 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins LWW
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