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Logo of aopAdvances in Orthopedics
Adv Orthop. 2012; 2012: 490806.
Published online 2012 August 16. doi:  10.1155/2012/490806
PMCID: PMC3431042

A Comparison of the Effectiveness of Surgical and Nonsurgical Treatment of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: A Review of the Literature


Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (LCPD) is a degenerative condition of the hip joint characterised by idiopathic avascular necrosis of the femoral head. Loss of bone mass causes a degree of collapse of the joint and may result in deformity of the ball of the femur and the surface of the hip socket. A reduction in hip joint range of motion, alternation in growth of femoral head, and associated pain are most important problems associated with this disease. Various treatment methods are currently in use and aim to increase containment of the femoral head within the acetabulum, redistribute loading patterns applied to the femoral head, and to decrease the final deformities associated with this condition. These treatments depend on a variety of underlying factors and the aim of this paper was to determine appropriate pathways for treatment and the evidence of treatment method success. A review of the relevant literature was carried out in a variety of data bases including PubMed and ISI Web of Knowledge, and Gale between 1950 and 2011. Research results were categorised depending on the identified treatment method. The success of each treatment pathway was assessed and reasons for the pathway selected were grouped by the age of disease onset, follow-up period, and the final outcome. Evidence relating to the effectiveness of the treatment method used was conflicting. Different methods of screening and follow-up periods were employed in each study which used subjects of varying ages. Minimal evidence of sufficient quality exists in the literature to determine the most appropriate treatment of Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. Research provides some evidence to suggest that nontreatment may be as effective as orthotic or surgical intervention. More research is required to determine the effectiveness of orthotic and surgical treatment.

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