Morphological changes in the acetabulum in Perthes' disease

B Joseph


Radiographs of 155 Indian children were examined to identify the acetabular changes which occur in Perthes' disease. These changes included osteoporosis of the acetabular roof, irregularity of contour, premature fusion of the triradiate cartilage, hypertrophy of articular cartilage and changes in dimensions. These changes tended to be more marked in older children and when more than half of the femoral epiphysis was involved. Comparison with 25 cases of Perthes' disease from Liverpool showed the same picture. Several of the acetabular changes noted during the active stages were also seen in a series of 24 adult hips after Perthes' disease. Radio-isotope scans of the hips of 27 children with Perthes' disease showed a consistently increased uptake in the acetabulum on the affected side, indicative of a local increase in vascularity and metabolic activity. It was possible to postulate a working model for the pathogenesis of all the acetabular changes. A number of statistical correlations suggest that most of the changes have a bearing on the final outcome.