Perthes Disease Treatment and Diagnosis
As leaders in pediatric orthopedics, skilled orthopaedic surgeons at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare are experts in diagnosing and treating Perthes.
An orthopaedic surgeon may perform a physical exam and use common radiology services like X-ray, advanced MRI or an arthrogram to diagnose Perthes disease. An arthrography is a specialty type of X-ray used to evaluate the surface of the hip bone. An arthrography differs from a standard X-ray because a special dye is injected into the hip joint to produce a more detailed image.
Depending on your child’s age, the severity of the condition, and the family’s preference, orthopedic surgeons may recommend any combination of the following treatments for Perthes, including:
- Observation – especially for children 5 years or younger
- Pain management including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Limiting physical activity levels to prevent further damage to an already weakened bone.
- Physical therapy exercises to maintain hip range of motion.
- Bracing or casting may be used to place the hip bone in an ideal position to promote healing of the hip back into a ball-like shape.
- Surgery may be performed to reposition the damaged, ball-like portion of the hip joint. This repositioning uses the hip socket to mold the healing hip to take on a spherical shape during recovery.
Once your child’s hip has healed completely, the disease is unlikely to return. Gillette orthopedic surgeons continually see and monitor progress children with Perthes until they stop growing and reach skeletal maturity.
The main goals of Perthes disease treatment are:
- Keeping your child as comfortable as possible and managing their pain.
- Maintaining adequate range of motion of the hip.
- Keeping the ball of the hip within the hip socket during the healing process, to maximize molding of the hip into a ball-like shape