Patterns of femoral head migration in osteoarthritis of the hip: a reappraisal with CT and pathologic correlation

Radiology. 1988 Mar;166(3):857-60. doi: 10.1148/radiology.166.3.3340784.


Although medial, superior, and axial patterns of migration of the femoral head in osteoarthritis of the hip have been well described, it is not clear what anatomic and biomechanical factors determine the direction of migration. The authors studied 22 patients with bilateral (11 patients) or unilateral (11 patients) osteoarthritis by means of conventional radiography and computed tomography (CT) to define any relationships between migration in the coronal plane and that in the transverse plane and to determine whether femoral anteversion, acetabular anteversion, femoral neck-shaft angle, or acetabular inclination were related to particular migration patterns. Anterior migration was evident in 14 of the 19 hips with a superior migration pattern, whereas posterior migration was present in five of the seven hips with a medial migration pattern. In the remainder of cases, no migration in the transverse plane was present. Femoral anteversion as determined with CT, femoral neck-shaft angle, angle of acetabular inclination, and acetabular anteversion angle in this relatively small sample were all found to be within normal limits and appeared to have no influence on the occurrence of a specific pattern of femoral head migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Femur Head / diagnostic imaging*
  • Femur Head / pathology
  • Femur Head / physiopathology
  • Hip Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hip Joint / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed