Imaging appearance of entrapped periosteum within a distal femoral Salter-Harris II fracture

Johnathan Chen, Mark F. Abel, Michael G. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Salter Harris II fractures of the distal femur are associated with a high incidence of complications, especially premature physeal closure. Many risk factors for this high rate of premature physeal closure have been proposed. More recently, entrapment of periosteum within the physis has been suggested as an additional predisposing factor for premature physeal closure. The radiographic diagnosis of entrapped soft tissues, including periosteum, can be suggested in the setting of a Salter-Harris II fracture when the fracture does not reduce and physeal widening >3 mm remains. We report a patient who sustained a distal femoral Salter-Harris II fracture following a valgus injury. The patient had persistent distal medial physeal widening >5 mm following attempted reduction. A subsequent MRI revealed a torn periosteum entrapped within the distal femoral physis. Following removal of the periosteum, the patient developed a leg length discrepancy which required physiodesis of the contralateral distal femur. We present this case to raise awareness of the importance of having a high index of suspicion of periosteal entrapment in the setting of Salter-Harris II fractures since most consider entrapped periosteum an indication for surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1547-1551
Number of pages5
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 17 2015


  • Femoral fractures
  • Growth plate
  • Leg length inequality
  • MRI
  • Periosteum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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