Differences in Femoral Torsion Among Various Measurement Methods Increase in Hips With Excessive Femoral TorsionSchmaranzer, Florian, MD; Lerch, Till D., MD; Siebenrock, Klaus A., MD; Tannast, Moritz, MD; Steppacher, Simon D., MD
Background Correct quantification of femoral torsion is crucial to diagnose torsional deformities, make an indication for surgical treatment, or plan the amount of correction. However, no clear evaluation of different femoral torsion measurement methods for hips with excessive torsion has been performed to date.
Questions/purposes (1) How does CT-based measurement of femoral torsion differ among five commonly used measurement methods? (2) Do differences in femoral torsion among measurement methods increase in hips with excessive femoral torsion? (3) What is the reliability and reproducibility of each of the five torsion measurement methods?
Methods Between March and August 2016, we saw 86 new patients (95 hips) with hip pain and physical findings suggestive for femoroacetabular impingement at our outpatient tertiary clinic. Of those, 56 patients (62 hips) had a pelvic CT scan including the distal femur for measurement of femoral torsion. We excluded seven patients (seven hips) with previous hip surgery, two patients (two hips) with sequelae of Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, and one patient (one hip) with a posttraumatic deformity. This resulted in 46 patients (52 hips) in the final study group with a mean age of 28 ± 9 years (range, 17–51 years) and 27 female patients (59%). Torsion was compared among five commonly used assessment measures, those of Lee et al., Reikerås et al., Jarrett et al., Tomczak et al., and Murphy et al. They differed regarding the level of the anatomic landmark for the proximal femoral neck axis; the method of Lee had the most proximal definition followed by the methods of Reikerås, Jarrett, and Tomczak at the base of the femoral neck and the method of Murphy with the most distal definition at the level of the lesser trochanter. The definition of the femoral head center and of the distal reference was consistent for all five measurement methods. We used the method described by Murphy et al. as our baseline measurement method for femoral torsion because it reportedly most closely reflects true anatomic femoral torsion. With this method we found a mean femoral torsion of 28 ± 13°. Mean values of femoral torsion were compared among the five methods using multivariate analysis of variance. All differences between two of the measurement methods were plotted over the entire range of femoral torsion to evaluate a possible increase in hips with excessive femoral torsion. All measurements were performed by two blinded orthopaedic residents (FS, TDL) at two different occasions to measure intraobserver reproducibility and interobserver reliability using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs).
Results We found increasing values for femoral torsion using measurement methods with a more distal definition of the proximal femoral neck axis: Lee et al. (most proximal definition: 11° ± 11°), Reikerås et al. (15° ± 11°), Jarrett et al. (19° ± 11°), Tomczak et al. (25° ± 12°), and Murphy et al. (most distal definition: 28° ± 13°). The most pronounced difference was found for the comparison between the methods of Lee et al. and Murphy et al. with a mean difference of 17° ± 5° (95% confidence interval, 16°–19°; p < 0.001). For six of 10 possible pairwise comparisons, the difference between two methods increased with increasing femoral torsion and decreased with decreasing femoral torsion. We observed a fair-to-strong linear correlation (R range, 0.306–0.622; all p values < 0.05) for any method compared with the Murphy method and for the Reikerås and Jarrett methods when compared with the Tomczak method. For example, a hip with 10° of femoral antetorsion according Murphy had a torsion of 1° according to Reikerås, which corresponds to a difference of 9°. This difference increased to 20° in hips with excessive torsion; for example, a hip with 60° of torsion according to Murphy had 40° of torsion according to Reikerås. All five methods for measuring femoral torsion showed excellent agreement for both intraobserver reproducibility (ICC, 0.905–0.973) and interobserver reliability (ICC, 0.938–0.969).
Conclusions Because the quantification of femoral torsion in hips with excessive femoral torsion differs considerably among measurement methods, it is crucial to state the applied methods when reporting femoral torsion and to be consistent regarding the used measurement method. These differences have to be considered for surgical decision-making and planning the degree of correction. Neglecting the differences among measurement methods to quantify femoral torsion can potentially lead to misdiagnosis and surgical planning errors.
Level of Evidence Level IV, diagnostic study.