Femoroacetabular impingement and the cam-effect. A MRI-based quantitative anatomical study of the femoral head-neck offset

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2001 Mar;83(2):171-6. doi: 10.1302/0301-620x.83b2.11092.


We have observed damage to the labrum as a result of repetitive acetabular impingement in non-dysplastic hips, in which the femoral neck appears to abut against the acetabular labrum and a non-spherical femoral head to press against the labrum and adjacent cartilage. In both mechanisms anatomical variations of the proximal femur may be a factor. We have measured the orientation of the femoral neck and the offset of the head at various circumferential positions, using MRI data from volunteers with no osteoarthritic changes on standard radiographs. Compared with the control subjects, paired for gender and age, patients showed a significant reduction in mean femoral anteversion and mean head-neck offset on the anterior aspect of the neck. This was consistent with the site of symptomatic impingement in flexion and internal rotation, and with lesions of the adjacent rim. Furthermore, when stratified for gender and age, and compared with the control group, the mean femoral head-neck offset was significantly reduced in the lateral-to-anterior aspect of the neck for young men, and in the anterolateral-to-anterior aspect of the neck for older women. For patients suspected of having impingement of the rim, anatomical variations in the proximal femur should be considered as a possible cause.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetabulum / anatomy & histology*
  • Acetabulum / pathology
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Femur Head / anatomy & histology*
  • Femur Head / pathology
  • Femur Neck / anatomy & histology*
  • Femur Neck / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors