Treatment for hip conditions should not rest solely on MRI scans

February 11, 2012, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

When it comes to treating people with hip pain, physicians should not replace clinical observation with the use of magnetic resonance images (MRI), according to research being presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Specialty Day in San Francisco, CA.

"We performed MRI scans on a sample of volunteers without any hip pain, and discovered about 73% had abnormal findings," commented the study's lead author Bradley C. Register, MD, of the Steadman-Philippon Research Institute.

The study evaluated forty-five volunteer subjects with no history of , symptoms, injury or previous surgeries. Each participant received an which was reviewed by three separate radiologists. Scans identified labral tears as the most common of the abnormalities displayed, making up nearly 69% of the joint conditions. Subjects older than 35 were more prone to abnormalities, showing a 13.7 times greater likelihood of having chondral defects and 16.7 times greater chance of having a subchondral cyst.

"The hope with a study like this is improved treatment and decision-making for physicians who are dealing with hip disorders," noted Register. "Our results emphasize the importance of correlating clinical signs and symptoms with imaging findings when considering surgery for patients with these conditions."

Explore further: Cam-type deformities linked to MRI detected hip damage in asymptomatic young men

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