One hundred twenty-six hips of 68 patients who were suspected of having osteonecrosis or being at risk for osteonecrosis were studied with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Abnormal patterns on MR imaging characteristic of osteonecrosis were observed in 98 hips. The remaining 28 hips (22 patients) with negative MR images underwent superselective angiography of the medial femoral circumflex artery. Angiography showed interruption of the superior retinacular arteries in 13 hips (12 patients), including 6 of 7 symptomatic hips. Bone scans were performed on 8 of 13 hips angiographically positive for osteonecrosis. Decrease of radionuclide uptake (cold lesions) was observed in all 8 of these femoral heads. Thirteen femoral heads with interruption of superior retinacular arteries underwent intraosseous pressure measurement and core biopsy. Intraosseous pressure was elevated in 11 hips. The results of histologic study showed evidence of early necrosis in 10 femoral heads. This study indicates that there are a considerable number of femoral heads at high risk, even when they have negative MR images. They do, however, show positive findings on angiography, scintigraphy (cold lesions), intraosseous pressure measurement, and histologic study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine