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The assessment of prognosis in Perthes' disease

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Seventy children who had suffered from Perthes' disease were reviewed clinically and radiologically three to eight years from the onset of the condition in order to determine retrospectively the most satisfactory method of assessing the prognosis and the correlation between the clinical and radiological result. In younger children the femoral head was more likely to be spherical at the conclusion of the pathological process but not necessarily of normal proportions nor normally covered by the acetabulum. The prognosis was significantly poorer for girls than for boys. Clinical factors were not an aid to prognosis in the individual cases, but overall there was a close correlation between the clinical and the radiological end-results. The most reliable radiological factors indicating the prognosis were the extent of uncovering of the femoral head, the Catterall grouping, the presence of calcification lateral to the outer limit of the acetabulum and lateral displacement of the femoral head, as measured by comparing the head to tear-drop distances on each side.

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