Objective: Nontraumatic subchondral fracture of the femoral head (FH) is often seen in elderly patients with osteoporosis and acetabular dysplasia. Although this injury can also occur in young people, even those without osteoporosis, it remains unclear who is at risk. We examined the acetabular structure and sites of subchondral fracture of the FH in young patients compared with those in middle-aged and older patients. Materials And Methods: Forty-eight hips with nontraumatic subchondral fracture of the FH were divided into two groups according to patient age: young (< 40 years) and middle-aged and older (≥ 40 years). Dysplasia and retroversion were defined as a lateral center- edge angle of < 20° and crossover sign on anterosuperior radiographs, respectively. Locations and extents of fracture were evaluated by measuring the edge location of low-signal-intensity bands on coronal T1-weighted MR images. Stress distribution on subchondral bone in young patients was evaluated in contralateral unaffected hips with the same acetabular structure using finite element modeling based on CT. Results: Twelve hips were in young patients and 36 were in middle-aged and older patients. Hips in young patients showed retroversion in 41.7%, whereas those in middle-aged and older patients had dysplasia in 38.9%. Young patients had larger mediolateral fractures; fractures in middle-aged and older patients were laterally located. Anterosuperior fractures were seen in both groups. Contact stress in patients with retroversion was mainly distributed on the mediolateral and superior sides but was concentrated laterally and superiorly in one patient with dysplasia. Conclusion: Mediolateral and anterosuperior fractures and stress distribution by retroversion were commonly observed in young patients, suggesting partial involvement of retroversion in the mechanism of injury of nontraumatic subchondral fractures of the FH in young patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging