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Its Relationship to Epiphysial Change and its Importance in Early Prognosis

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1. Experimental work with piglets supports the theory that diminished blood supply to the femoral head not only causes necrosis of the epiphysis but also a decrease in cartilage cell production in the germinal layer of the epiphysial plate, thus causing decreased longitudinal bone growth. Appositional growth continues in the metaphysis because its blood supply remains intact or, at least, is less impaired. The resulting disturbance of the normal remodelling must lead to a short wide neck such as occurs in Legg-Perthes' disease.

2. Measurements were made of the length and width of the femoral neck on radiographs of forty patients with Legg-Perthes' disease. The results showed that the degree of shortening and widening is related to the extent of structural change in the head.

3. Repeated measurements in the early stages of the active disease may permit an early prognosis which may be of great assistance in selecting the treatment suitable to each patient. The financial assistance of the Ontario Society for Crippled Children is gratefully acknowledged.

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