Diagnostic accuracy of clinical assessment, magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance arthrography, and intra-articular injection in hip arthroscopy patients

Am J Sports Med. Oct-Nov 2004;32(7):1668-74. doi: 10.1177/0363546504266480.


Background: Hip arthroscopy has defined elusive causes of hip pain.

Hypothesis/purpose: It is postulated that the reliability of various investigative methods is inconsistent. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of these methods.

Study design: Retrospective review of prospectively collected data.

Methods: Five parameters were assessed in 40 patients: clinical assessment, high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance imaging with gadolinium arthrography, intra-articular bupivacaine injection, and arthroscopy. Using arthroscopy as the definitive diagnosis, the other parameters were evaluated for reliability.

Results: Hip abnormality was clinically suspected in all cases with 98% accuracy (1 false positive). However, the nature of the abnormality was identified in only 13 cases with 92% accuracy. Magnetic resonance imaging variously demonstrated direct or indirect evidence of abnormality but overall demonstrated a 42% false-negative and a 10% false-positive interpretation. Magnetic resonance arthrography demonstrated an 8% false-negative and 20% false-positive interpretation. Response to the intra-articular injection of anesthetic was 90% accurate (3 false-negative and 1 false-positive responses) for detecting the presence of intra-articular abnormality.

Conclusions: In this series, clinical assessment accurately determined the existence of intra-articular abnormality but was poor at defining its nature. Magnetic resonance arthrography was much more sensitive than magnetic resonance imaging at detecting various lesions but had twice as many false-positive interpretations. Response to an intra-articular injection of anesthetic was a 90% reliable indicator of intra-articular abnormality.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Arthrography / methods*
  • Arthroscopy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Hip Joint / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Joint Diseases / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Physical Examination
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity