Nowadays, nagging hip pain has become quite common not only in elderly people but youngsters are also complaining of it.
We explain some imaging techniques by which the exact cause of the pain can be identified and corrective measures taken thereon.
Why is Imaging Needed during Hip Pain
Imaging of the hip needs to be complementary to the clinical history and physical examination.
Clinical tests are adapted to identify the source of pain as intra-articular or extra-articular.
Let us see different imaging techniques used for analyzing the cause of Hip Pain.
Older patients may suffer from osteoarthritis but today younger patients also suffer from Hip pain due to various reasons. X Rays are the first step towards diagnosing the cause of the same.
Plain radiography allows us to categorize the hip as normal or dysplastic or with impingement signs .Besides these, pathologic processes like osteoarthritis, inflammatory diseases, infection, or tumors can also be identified .
MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Many pathological conditions of the hip are detected early by MRI due to its high soft tissue resolution and sensitivity. Its accuracy in studying acute hip pain in children has proved to be superior to ultrasound and plan film radiography.
MR imaging is considered mainly when surgery is considered, due to the ability of MRI to portray the whole section of the femoral neck surface, as well as to image the labrum and articular cartilage.
Due to radiation concerns, CT has been relegated after MRI in the study of intra-articular causes of hip pain. The only exception where CT is considered superior to MRI is in bone tumors, because of its ability in characterizing matrix calcifications, and in depicting the anatomy of acute traumatic fractures.
Ultrasound is the first-choice technique for diagnosis of newborns hip dysplasia. In experienced hands with appropriate technology, ultrasound can also be useful during the first year of life . Although it shows higher initial costs caused, it leads to significant reduction in the total number and overall costs of dysplastic hips undergoing operative and non operative treatment
Bone scanning in patients with hip pain can be complementary to other imaging studies, mainly in indeterminate bone lesions to clarify whether it is an active lesion with abnormal radiotracer accumulation.