Although several factors exacerbate osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH), little is known about whether pelvic sagittal parameters are associated with a greater risk of ONFH progression.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between pelvic sagittal parameters and disease progression (collapse of the femoral head) in patients with nontraumatic ONFH.
From March 2010 through December 2016, we saw 401 patients with unilateral ONFH diagnosed at an outpatient clinic using plain radiography and MRI that were retrospectively reviewed. Of those, 276 patients met our inclusion criteria: Association Research Circulation Osseous (ARCO) Stage I or II nontraumatic unilateral ONFH without femoral head collapse, older than 18 years, and no prior surgical treatment. In all, 74% (203 of 276) of hips had complete follow-up (clinical and radiographic) at a minimum of 2 years. The pelvic sagittal parameters (pelvic incidence, pelvic tilt, and sacral slope) of all patients were measured with standing radiographs by two observers. Progression of disease and potential collapse of the femoral head of all patients (ARCO Stage ≥ III) was examined using radiography every 2 to 3 months after the first outpatient clinic visit. If patients with intractable pain associated with collapse of the femoral head did not respond to nonoperative treatment, THA was performed during the follow-up period. The patients were divided into two groups for comparison: those whose femoral head collapsed within 12 months (rapid progression group) and those whose femoral head did not collapse (nonrapid progression group). The rapid progression group consisted of 49 men and 55 women with a mean age of 55 years; the nonrapid progression group consisted of 60 men and 39 women with a mean age of 56 years. Factors such as age, sex, BMI, size of necrotic lesions, location of necrosis, necrosis risk factor associated with the rapid progression of disease were analyzed using an exploratory univariate analysis followed by a multivariate analysis.
Pelvic incidence (53° ± 9° versus 49° ± 7°; p < 0.01) and sacral slope (38° ± 9° versus 33° ± 7°; p < 0.01) were greater in the rapid progression group than in the non-rapid progression group. After accounting for potentially confounding variables like age, sex, BMI, size of necrotic lesions, location of necrosis, and necrosis risk factors, the only variable we found that was independently associated with more rapid disease progression was high (> 55°) pelvic incidence (odds ratio, 0.95 [95% CI 0.91 to 0.99]; p = 0.03).
After controlling for potential confounders such as age, sex, BMI, size of necrotic lesions, location of necrosis, and necrosis risk factors, we found that a high pelvic incidence was associated with a greater likelihood of femoral head collapse in patients with nontraumatic ONFH. Assessing pelvic sagittal parameters in patients with early nontraumatic ONFH may help anticipate which patients are at risk for femoral head collapse, but future prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Level of Evidence
Level III, therapeutic study.