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TSRHC Leads the Charge on Perthes Disease Research

While TSRHC is known across the globe for its excellence in pediatric orthopaedics, it is also recognized for groundbreaking research. The studies TSRHC staff participate in allow physicians worldwide to better understand various orthopaedic conditions.

One particular research study focuses on Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD), a condition that affects the femoral head or the “ball” part of the hip joint. In Perthes Disease, the blood supply to the femoral head is disrupted and all or part of the femoral head dies from the lack of blood flow.

A History of Research

Twenty years ago, Tony Herring, M.D., started a large, prospective multi-center study with the purpose of understanding the outcomes of pediatric patients with Perthes Disease. Participating institutions treated patients with five different methods: non-surgical treatment, which included bracing and physical therapy; surgical treatment, which included femoral or pelvic osteotomy; and observation. Herring and his colleagues published their findings in the 2004 Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Herring, along with Dan Sucato, M.D., M.S., led the efforts to invite the patients from the study who were treated non-operatively back to TSRHC for a clinical, radiographic and functional evaluation.

“The results of this study gave us the unique opportunity to review the long-term outcomes of patients who were treated with non-operative intervention. We found that the majority of these patients complained of increasing pain and dysfunction. This was the first study to document these findings at 20-year follow-up,” said Sucato. These results were published last year in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Sucato was recently awarded the Angela Kuo Memorial Award, a $30,000 grant, from the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) at the 2013 POSNA Annual Meeting. This grant will be used to fund the third part of this study, which will review the clinical, functional and radiographic outcomes of patients originally treated with surgery. At this time, 18 patients from across the nation have participated in the follow-up study.

Follow-up Study for the Future

One of these patients, Jaclyn Davidson, age 30, recently visited TSRHC for an evaluation with Sucato and Harry Kim, M.D., M.S. Davidson was originally treated with pelvic surgery when she was 7 years old.

“Having the opportunity to evaluate patients like Ms. Davidson after 20 years of follow-up allows us to keep learning about the long-term effects of treatment patterns for Perthes Disease. We are grateful for their time and efforts. The results of this data will help us improve treatments for our current patients with Perthes Disease,” Sucato noted.

As the study moves forward, TSRHC staff will continue to learn more about the condition and how to better treat patients who are affected by it.

To learn more about the disease and the multicenter study research for current patients with Perthes Disease happening at TSRHC, please visit: www.perthesdisease.org.

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