Role of the extraosseus blood supply in osteoarthritic femoral heads?

Ralf Schoeniger, Norman Espinosa, Rafael J. Sierra, Michael Leunig, Reinhold Ganz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Blood perfusion to the femoral head might be endangered during the surgical approach or the preparation of the femoral head or both in hip resurfacing arthroplasty. The contribution of the intramedullary blood supply to the femoral head in osteoarthritis is questionable. Therefore, the contribution of the extraosseous blood supply to osteoarthritic femoral heads was measured intraoperatively to question if there is measurable blood flow between the epiphysis and metaphysis in osteoarthritic hips in case of extraosseus vessel damage. At defined points during surgery we acquired the epiphyseal and metaphyseal femoral head perfusion by high-energy laser Doppler flowmetry. Complete femoral neck osteotomy sparing the retinacular vessels to simulate intraosseous blood disruption showed unchanged epiphyseal blood flow compared to initial measurement after capsulotomy. The pulsatile signal disappeared after transection of the retinacular vessels. Based on these acute measurements, we conclude intramedullary blood vessels to the femoral head do not provide measurable blood supply to the epiphysis once the medial femoral circumflex artery or the retinacular vessels have been damaged. We recommend the use of a safe surgical approach for hip resurfacing and careful implantation of the femoral component to respect blood supply to the femoral head and neck region in hip resurfacing arthroplasty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2235-2240
Number of pages6
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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