Many people have had good luck getting hip conditions diagnosed after an MRI scan. However, new research suggests that doctors may not want to rely too heavily on this method, as clinical observation is still the best way to figure out what is troubling the patient.
Magnetic resonance images (MRIs) are frequently used to determine what is going on beneath the skin, especially for skeletal problems like hip pain. But research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day showed that about 73 percent of MRI scans on people without any hip pain indicated abnormalities. This shows that MRIs may cause false alarm and mistaken treatment.
The study looked at 45 volunteer subjects who had no history of hip pain, symptoms, injury or previous surgeries. Their MRIs were examined by three separate radiologists, who noted labral tears as the most common abnormality displayed. Subjects over age 35 were more prone to abnormalities, but nearly all subjects showed some concern.
"The hope with a study like this is improved treatment and decision-making for physicians who are dealing with hip disorders," said study author Dr. Bradley C. Register of the Steadman-Philippon Research Institute. "Our results emphasize the importance of correlating clinical signs and symptoms with imaging findings when considering surgery for patients with these conditions."