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Hip Preservation


Principal Investigators: Stephanie Mayer, MD; Travis Heare, MD; Courtney O’Donnell, MD

Research Assistant: Whitney Hovater, BS; Rachael Martino, BA

The hip preservation program at Children’s Hospital Colorado focuses on understanding and treating hip conditions across childhood and adolescence.
Hip conditions include:
- Developmental dysplasia of the hip
- Slipped capital femoral epiphysis
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
- Adolescent onset dysplasia
- Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)

Current projects examine patient predisposition, long-term effects and progression of hip problems, and effective interventions to extend preservation of hip function and cartilage.


Finite element modeling using computer tomography (CT) scans to create 3-D models of hip bones with accurate representations of hip cartilage (seen in blue, green, and purple).


Biomechanical analysis of loading forces within the hip joint as femoral torsion changes for the Femoral Version study.


The Hip Preservation Program is involved in a few large-scale multicenter hip studies including Academic Network of Conservational Hip Outcomes Research (ANCHOR) and the International Perthes Study Group. ANCHOR studies long-term effectiveness and 10-year outcomes of surgical repair of adolescent onset hip dysplasia and femoroacetabular impingement. The International Perthes Study Group (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02040714), evaluates patients 5-18 years old who develop Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, focusing on disease progression, treatment options, and long-term outcomes across age groups.
“Movement Analysis of Patients with Symptomatic Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)” is a prospective study evaluating symptomatic FAI patients using 3-D motion capture technology to quantify joint forces, kinematics, and kinetics of morphologically normal and abnormal hips.
The study “Evaluation of the role of femoral version in acetabular loading and cartilage damage,” funded by the University of Colorado Orthopedics Pilot Grant, models the changes in loading forces within the hip joint as femoral torsion changes. This three-part study includes a retrospective review of patients, a biomechanical analysis of cadaver specimens, and finite element modeling to evaluate joint forces as hip anatomy changes. This study is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Colorado Denver Department of Biomechanical Engineering
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) is a common adolescent hip disorder, but much remains unknown about optimal treatment and management strategies in order to minimize complications and improve patient quality of life long-term. The purpose of this study is to collect prospective data on SCFE patients throughout the diagnosis, treatment, and follow up stages of their care in order to better understand the disorder and what may contribute to a positive outcome. Due to limited number of new patients presenting each year at a single institution, this study will be a multi-center, international study, with participating centers in Canada, the United States, New Zealand, India and Australia. The multi-center nature of the study will enable the capture of center-to-center and surgeon-to-surgeon variability in practice and management, as well as facilitate the comparison of surgical techniques.​

Outcomes of Pelvic and Hip Apophyseal Avulstion Fractures in Adolescents

Pelvic avulsion fractures (PAF) are most commonly seen in skeletally immature, adolescent athletes as a result of a strong and sudden muscle contraction. Given the relatively uncommon nature of pelvic avulsion fractures, most previous studies are small retrospective case series with limited clinical and radiographic outcomes to report. The purpose of this multi-center study is to prospectively collect data on operative versus non-operative treatment, long-term radiographic and clinical outcomes, incidence of complications, mechanism of injury, and return to sports rates in children and adolescents with pelvic avulsion fractures. This multi-center study includes nine other institutions around the United States, and will allow for the analysis and comparison of outcomes in a larger cohort with pelvic avulsion fractures than has previously been studied.​