• Vol. 32 No. 2, 252–256
  • 15 March 2003

Significance of the Lateral Epiphysis of the Acetabulum to Hip Joint Stability


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Normal development of the acetabulum is crucial to the growth and stability of the hip. Twenty-five New Zealand white rabbits (postweaning) weighing 1.5 to 2.2 kg were used. Both hips were exposed through an anterolateral approach. On the right hip, a fixed area of superolateral physeal cartilage was damaged with drills. Sham open reduction was performed for the left hip. Radiographic changes of the right hips were evident at 6 weeks. At 12 weeks, the right hip dislocated in a posterior and superior direction. The left hip remained normal. Histopathologic analysis correlated strongly with the radiographic findings. There were thinning of cartilage cells of the acetabulum, with disorganisation. The acetabular roof was poorly formed. The lateral acetabular epiphysis is vital to the development of the acetabular roof. Damage to this epiphysis may result in acetabular maldevelopment and subsequent hip instability. We tested the hypothesis that abnormality in this epiphysis can give rise to abnormal acetabular development.

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) remains one of the most difficult disorders to understand and treat in Paediatric Orthopaedics. The aetiology have not been clearly understood and therefore the management remains controversial.

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