Abnormal extension of the femoral head epiphysis as a cause of cam impingement

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2004 Jan:(418):54-60. doi: 10.1097/00003086-200401000-00010.


The etiology of an insufficient femoral head-neck offset has not been identified yet. It was investigated whether a decreased head-neck offset might be correlated with an unusual orientation of the physeal capital scar. Therefore, the femoral head-neck offset and the extension of the physeal scar onto the femoral neck were measured with specific magnetic resonance imaging arthrography. The measurements were done in 15 patients with anterior femoroacetabular impingement attributable to a nonspherical head and were compared with 15 age- and gender-matched control subjects. Eight serial magnetic resonance imaging sections perpendicular to the femoral neck axis were used in each hip to measure the head-neck offset and the epiphyseal extension toward the femoral neck at 16 measurement points. In both groups there was an inverse correlation between the amount of head-neck offset and the relative extension of the capital physeal scar in the cranial hemisphere of the head. Within the anterosuperior head quadrant, there was statistically significant different decrease of the head-neck offset and increase of the lateral epiphyseal extension in the patients compared with the control subjects. These findings suggest a growth abnormality of the capital physis as one probable underlying cause for a nonspherical head.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Epiphyses / abnormalities
  • Epiphyses / pathology
  • Femur / abnormalities*
  • Femur / pathology
  • Hip Joint* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / etiology
  • Joint Diseases / pathology