MDCT arthrography is an accurate method for assessing cartilage loss in patients with hip dysplasia and may be more reliable than MRI in such instances, says a new study by researchers from Osaka University Medical School in Japan.
Hip dysplasia is a malformation or alteration of the ball (femur head) and socket (acetabulum) joint bones of the hip that can wear away the surrounding cartilage, which can lead to arthritis and other problems. "The condition is often caused by a birth defect or incomplete growth of the skeleton during childhood; women and those with a family history are the most at risk. In addition, reports have shown that 10 to 20% of Japanese people develop hip dysplasia, which is two to five times more than Caucasian people," said Takashi Nishii, MD, lead author of the study.
For the study, 18 patients with hip dysplasia underwent both MDCT arthrography and 3D spoiled gradient-echo MRI. The researchers found that MDCT arthrography had higher sensitivity (70-79%), specificity (93-94%) and accuracy (87-90%) rates than MRI (47-53%, 87-92% and 78-80%, respectively) in diagnosing cartilage loss.
According to the researchers, the advantages of MDCT arthrography over other methods of diagnosis such as X-ray and MRI include better 3D evaluation, higher resolution, higher signal-to-noise ratio, and better tissue contrast.
Detection of cartilage problems of any severity is important, say the researchers. "A high incidence of cartilage abnormalities in patients with hip dysplasia indicates the need for more sensitive imaging methods than those previously used. Our study suggests that MDCT arthrography may become a prominent method for imaging patients with hip dysplasia, including precise assessment of osteoarthritis progression, adequate planning of surgery, and accurate monitoring of the effects of drug treatment and surgery," said Dr. Nishii.