Posterior dislocation of the hip - Thompson-Epstein classification

Thompson-Epstein classification describes five types of posterior hip dislocation defined by associated acetabular fracture or fracture of the femoral head as depicted on plain radiographs. In general, there are three types of dislocations in the hip joint:

  • posterior: the femoral head is dislocated posteriorly, most commont type
  • anterior: the femoral head is dislocated anteriorly
  • central: impact of the femoral through the acetabular floor into the pelvis
Type Description
Type I posterior dislocation with no or minor fracture
Type II posterior dislocation with large single fracture of posterior acetabular rim
Type III posterior dislocation with comminution of acetabular rim, irrespective of the size of fragments
Type IV posterior dislocation with fracture of the acetabular floor
Type V posterior dislocation with fracture of the femoral head


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2. Epstein HC. Traumatic dislocations of the hip. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1973 May;(92):116–42.
3. Dwyer AJ, John B, Singh SA, Mam MK. Complications after posterior dislocation of the hip. Int Orthop. 2006 Aug;30(4):224–7