Prevalence of radiographic findings thought to be associated with femoroacetabular impingement in a population-based cohort of 2081 healthy young adults

Radiology. 2011 Aug;260(2):494-502. doi: 10.1148/radiol.11102354. Epub 2011 May 25.


Purpose: To report the prevalence of qualitative radiographic findings for femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and associations among them and to characterize the inter- and intraobserver variability of these interpretations.

Materials and methods: This study is part of an institutional review board-approved population-based prospective follow-up of 2081 of 4006 (participation rate, 51.9%) young adults (874 [42.0%] male participants, 1207 [58.0%] female participants; mean age, 18.6 years) who took part in a randomized hip trial on developmental dysplasia of the hip. All participants gave informed consent. Two pelvic radiographs were obtained. Pistol-grip deformity, focal femoral neck prominence, and flattening of the lateral head, all suggestive of cam-type impingement, and the posterior wall sign, excessive acetabular coverage, and crossover sign, all suggestive of pincer-type impingement, were assessed subjectively by an experienced radiologist. To assess inter- and intraobserver agreement, images from 350 examinations were read independently twice by two observers.

Results: Cam-type deformities were seen in 868 male and 1192 female participants, respectively, as follows: pistol-grip deformity, 187 (21.5%) and 39 (3.3%); focal femoral neck prominence, 89 (10.3%) and 31 (2.6%); and flattening of the lateral femoral head, 125 (14.4%) and 74 (6.2%). Pincer-type deformities were seen in the same numbers of male and female participants, respectively, as follows: posterior wall sign, 203 (23.4%) and 131 (11.0%); and excessive acetabular coverage, 127 (14.6%) and 58 (4.9%) (all P < .001, according to sex distribution). The crossover sign was seen in 446 (51.4%) and 542 (45.5%) of the male and female participants, respectively (P = .004). There was a high degree of coexistence (odds ratio [OR] > 2) among most FAI findings. Interobserver agreement was good to very good (κ = 0.74-0.84) in rating cam- and pincer-type findings. Intraobserver agreement was moderate or good (κ = 0.49-0.80) for all findings for both observers.

Conclusion: Overall, radiographic FAI findings are quite common in a population of healthy young adults, especially in males, with a high degree of coexistence among most findings (OR > 2).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetabulum / abnormalities*
  • Acetabulum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adolescent
  • Cadaver
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / diagnostic imaging*
  • Femur Head / abnormalities*
  • Femur Head / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted