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01.04.2015 | Symposium: 2014 Bernese Hip Symposium | Ausgabe 4/2015

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® 4/2015

Relative Femoral Neck Lengthening Improves Pain and Hip Function in Proximal Femoral Deformities With a High-riding Trochanter

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® > Ausgabe 4/2015
MD Christoph E. Albers, MD Simon D. Steppacher, MD Joseph M. Schwab, MD Moritz Tannast, MD Klaus A. Siebenrock
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11999-014-4032-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
One of the authors (SDS) has received funding from the Deutsche Arthrose-Hilfe e.V. One author (MT) has received funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).
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.
Each author certifies that his or her 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.



Complex proximal femoral deformities, including an elevated greater trochanter, short femoral neck, and aspherical head-neck junction, often result in pain and impaired hip function resulting from intra-/extraarticular impingement. Relative femoral neck lengthening may address these deformities, but mid-term results of this approach have not been widely reported.


Do patients who have undergone relative femoral neck lengthening show (1) less hip pain and greater function; (2) improved radiographic parameters; (3) significant complications requiring subsequent surgery; and (4) progression of osteoarthrosis (OA) or conversion to total hip arthroplasty (THA) at mid-term followup?


We retrospectively reviewed 40 patients (41 hips) with isolated relative femoral neck lengthening between 1998 and 2006 with sequelae of Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (38 hips [93%]), slipped capital femoral epiphysis (two hips [5%]), and postseptic arthritis (one hip [2%]). During this time, the general indications for this procedure included a high-riding greater trochanter with a short femoral neck with abductor weakness and symptomatic intra-/extraarticular impingement. Mean patient followup was 8 years (range, 5–13 years), and complete followup was available in 38 patients (39 hips [95%]). We evaluated pain and function with the impingement test, limp, abductor force, Merle d’Aubigné-Postel score, and range of motion. Radiographic parameters included trochanteric height, alpha angle, and progression of OA. Subsequent surgeries, complications, and conversion to THA were summarized.


The proportion of positive anterior impingement tests decreased from 93% (38 of 41 hips) preoperatively to 49% (17 of 35 hips) at latest followup (p = 0.002); the proportion of limp decreased from 76% (31 of 41 hips) to 9% (three of 35 hips; p < 0.001); the proportion of normal abductor strength increased from 17% (seven of 41 hips) to 91% (32 of 35 hips; p < 0.001); mean Merle d’Aubigné-Postel score increased from 14 ± 1.7 (range, 9–17) to 17 ± 1.5 (range, 13–18; p < 0.001); mean internal rotation increased to 25° ± 15° (range, 0°–60°; p = 0.045), external rotation to 32° ± 14° (range, 5°–70°; p = 0.013), and abduction to 37° ± 13° (range, 10°–50°; p = 0.004). Eighty percent of hips (33 of 41 hips) showed normal trochanteric height; alpha angle improved to 42° ± 10° (range, 27°–90°). Two hips (5%) had subsequent surgeries as a result of lack of containment; four of 41 hips (10%) had complications resulting in reoperation. Fourteen of 35 hips (40%) showed progression of OA; four of 40 hips (10%) converted to THA.


Relative femoral neck lengthening in hips with combined intra- and extraarticular impingement results in reduced pain, improved function, and improved radiographic parameters of the proximal femur. Although lack of long-term complications is gratifying, progression of OA was not prevented and remains an area for future research.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, therapeutic study.

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