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Assessing Leg Length Discrepancy Is Necessary Before Arthroplasty in Patients With Unilateral Crowe Type IV Hip Dislocation

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2023 Mar 10. doi: 10.1097/CORR.0000000000002611. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: THA for high-riding developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is challenging in terms of length equalization. Although previous studies suggested preoperative templating on AP pelvic radiographs is insufficient in patients with unilateral high-riding DDH because of hypoplasia of the hemipelvis on the affected side and unequal femoral and tibial length on scanograms, the results were controversial. The EOS™ (EOS™ Imaging) is a biplane X-ray imaging system using slot-scanning technology. Length and alignment measurements have been shown to be accurate. We used the EOS to compare the lower limb length and alignment in patients with unilateral high-riding DDH.

QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: (1) Is there an overall leg length difference in patients with unilateral Crowe Type IV hip dysplasia? (2) In patients with unilateral Crowe Type IV hip dysplasia with an overall leg length difference, is there a consistent pattern of abnormalities in the femur or tibia that account for observed differences? (3) What is the impact of unilateral high-riding Crowe Type IV dysplasia on femoral neck offset and knee coronal alignment?

METHODS: Between March 2018 and April 2021, we treated 61 patients with THA for Crowe Type IV DDH (high-riding dislocation). EOS imaging was performed preoperatively in all patients. Eighteen percent (11 of 61) of the patients were excluded because of involvement of the opposite hip, 3% (two of 61) were excluded for neuromuscular involvement, and 13% (eight of 61) had previous surgery or fracture, leaving 40 patients for analysis in this prospective, cross-sectional study. Each patient’s demographic, clinical, and radiographic information was collected with a checklist using charts, Picture Archiving and Communication System, and an EOS database. EOS-related measurements that were related to the proximal femur, limb length, and knee-related angles were recorded for both sides by two examiners. The findings of the two sides were statistically compared.

RESULTS: The overall limb length was not different between the dislocated and nondislocated sides (mean 725 ± 40 mm versus 722 ± 45 mm, mean difference 3 mm [95% CI -3 to 9 mm); p = 0.08). Apparent leg length was shorter on the dislocated side (mean 742 ± 44 mm versus 767 ± 52 mm, mean difference -25 mm [95% CI -32 to 3 mm]; p < 0.001). We observed that a longer tibia on the dislocated side was the only consistent pattern (mean 338 ± 19 mm versus 335 ± 20 mm, mean difference 4 [95% CI 2 to 6 mm]; p = 0.002), but there was no difference between the femur length (mean 346 ± 21 mm versus 343 ± 19 mm, mean difference 3 mm [95% CI -1 to 7]; p = 0.10). The femur of the dislocated side was longer by greater than 5 mm in 40% (16 of 40) of patients and shorter in 20% (eight of 40). The mean femoral neck offset of the involved side was shorter than that of the normal side (mean 28 ± 8 mm versus 39 ± 8 mm, mean difference -11 mm [95% CI -14 to -8 mm]; p < 0.001). There was a higher valgus alignment of the knee on the dislocated side with a decreased lateral distal femoral angle (mean 84° ± 3° versus 89° ± 3°, mean difference – 5° [95% CI -6° to -4°]; p < 0.001) and increased medial proximal tibia angle (mean 89° ± 3° versus 87° ± 3°, mean difference 1° [95% CI 0° to 2°]; p = 0.04).

CONCLUSION: A consistent pattern of anatomic alteration on the contralateral side does not exist in Crowe Type IV hips except for the length of the tibia. All parameters of the limb length could be shorter, equal to, or longer on the dislocated side. Given this unpredictability, AP pelvis radiographs are not sufficient for preoperative planning, and individualized preoperative planning using full-length images of the lower limbs should be performed before arthroplasty in Crowe Type IV hips.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level I, prognostic study.

PMID:36912864 | DOI:10.1097/CORR.0000000000002611

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