MR Arthrography of the Hip

Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 1998;2(4):349-362. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1080116.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the hip has been valuable in the diagnosis of occult osseous abnormalities and of periarticular soft tissue disorders. MRI has been less useful in the evaluation of acetabular labral tears and other intra-articular abnormalities. Image optimization is more technically challenging in the hip than in smaller joints because the overlying soft tissues are thicker, resulting in decreased spatial and contrast resolutions that may not be adequate to distinguish the acetabular labrum from subchondral bone, articular cartilage, and joint capsule. MR arthrography (MRA) extends the capabilities of conventional MRI because contrast solution separates intra-articular structures and outlines abnormalities. In hips with suspected acetabular labral injury, arthrographic MR images demonstrate the location and length of tears and the presence of associated capsular defects. Arthrographic MR images may also enable the accurate diagnosis of cartilage lesions and intra-articular loose bodies. This article illustrates normal arthrographic MR features of the hip as well as pathologic disorders of the acetabular labrum, capsule, and articular cartilage