Relative femoral neck lengthening improves pain and hip function in proximal femoral deformities with a high-riding trochanter

Albers, Christoph E; Steppacher, Simon D; Schwab, Joseph M; Tannast, Moritz; Siebenrock, Klaus A (2015). Relative femoral neck lengthening improves pain and hip function in proximal femoral deformities with a high-riding trochanter. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 473(4), pp. 1378-1387. Springer 10.1007/s11999-014-4032-9

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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.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Orthopaedic Surgery

UniBE Contributor:

Albers, Christoph; Steppacher, Simon Damian; Tannast, Moritz and Siebenrock, Klaus-Arno


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Fabian Röthlisberger

Date Deposited:

22 Mar 2016 14:18

Last Modified:

24 Mar 2016 12:58

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