Total necrosis of the femoral head after infection in children during their first months of life gives a dislocated hip with severe leg shortening. A new femoral head can be achieved with subtrochanteric osteotomy and transposition of the apophysis of the greater trochanter into the acetabulum. Previous reports have dealt with short-term results (up to 12 years). Here I present some results of this procedure 15–24 years after operation.
4 children aged 1–6 years with complete necrosis of the femoral head were operated on with transposition of the greater trochanter. Secondary shelf plasty was performed later in 1 child, distal femoral epiphysiodesis in another, and femoral bone lengthening in 1 child. The mean follow-up period was 19 (15–24) years.
A new femoral head developed in all hips. 2 of them had a spherical head with a good acetabular cover, and without any osteoarthritis except for slight reduction of cartilage height. These hips were painless, with a mobility that allowed good walking function after 16 and 24 years, respectively. In the other 2 patients, in which there was a severe acetabular dysplasia at the primary operation, the new femoral head was somewhat flattened; painful osteoarthritis led to hip replacement 15 and 21 years after trochanter arthroplasty. Even these patients had a relatively good walking function until the last couple of years before hip replacement. Maximum leg length discrepancy was 7 cm.
Trochanter arthroplasty with subtrochanteric osteotomy in total femoral head necrosis after septic arthritis in children may give satisfactory long-term results provided adequate acetabular cover is obtained. Although the method cannot provide a normal hip, it can contribute to less length discrepancy, less pain, improved gait, and more favorable conditions for later hip replacement.