Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

What is Legg-Calve-Perthes disease?

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (also known as Perthes disease or Legg Perthes) is a temporary condition in children in which the ball-shaped head of the thighbone (femoral head) loses its blood supply. As a result, the head of the thigh bone collapses, and the area becomes inflamed and irritated.

As the condition runs its course, the body will absorb the dead bone cells and replace them with new bone cells. The new bone cells will eventually reshape the head of the thighbone, but the result can be a deformation that can cause arthritis later on.

For the majority of children with Legg-Calve-Perthes, only one hip is ever affected. In 10 to 12 percent of children with the condition, both hips are affected but not usually at the same time.

Meet Grady

Care for Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

Boston Children's Hospital orthopedic surgeon Arthur Thornton Legg, MD, first recognized and described Legg-Calve-Perthes disease in 1910. Since then, Boston Children’s hip specialists have built up a vast body of knowledge of, and experience with, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and we’ve pioneered advanced techniques for re-shaping the femoral head and optimizing joint function and longevity.

Whatever hip treatment your child requires, you can have peace of mind knowing that, as national and international orthopedics referral centers, Boston Children’s Orthopedic Center and Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program have deep experience treating children with every kind of hip condition, some of which few other pediatric hospitals have ever encountered.

Download our patient fact sheet for Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease to learn more about the condition, view helpful illustrations and find out how the hip specialists in the Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program provide comprehensive care throughout each patient’s treatment.