What are the roles of CT scanning and MRI in the workup of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH)?

Updated: Feb 26, 2018
  • Author: Junichi Tamai, MD; Chief Editor: William L Jaffe, MD  more...
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Computed tomography (CT) can also be helpful in determining femoral anteversion and in determining the extent of posterior acetabular coverage. Three-dimensional (3D) images are also quite popular and can be beneficial in visualizing the overall shape of the acetabulum.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be beneficial in identifying the underlying bony and soft-tissue anatomy. One study evaluated MRI findings in pediatric orthopedic patients who showed residual subluxation after reduction of DDH. [46] Twenty-two subjects were followed conservatively, and 14 subjects underwent corrective surgery.

The subjects in the surgery arm of the study showed the presence of a high-signal intensity area (HSIA) within the weight-bearing portion of the acetabular cartilage preoperatively, which decreased or disappeared after the surgical procedure. [46] In the conservative arm, those with HSIAs demonstrated poor acetabular growth and those without HISAs showed acetabular growth. The researchers concluded that HSIAs on MRI may be a marker for poor acetabular growth, which would make these areas valuable findings in corrective surgery decision-making.

A retrospective review compared CT with MRI in the evaluation of hip reduction in patients younger than 13 months with hip dysplasia. [47] The results indicated that whereas MRI was a viable alternative to CT, CT required significantly less scan time than MRI did and cost less. However, CT was slightly less specific than MRI was. [47]


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