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Radiology. 2001 Nov;221(2):469-77.

Greater trochanter of the hip: attachment of the abductor mechanism and a complex of three bursae--MR imaging and MR bursography in cadavers and MR imaging in asymptomatic volunteers.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Diego, Calif., USA.



To evaluate trochanteric anatomy with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, bursography, MR bursography, and anatomic analysis.


T1-weighted and fat-saturated T2-weighted (transverse, sagittal, coronal, and coronal oblique planes) MR imaging of the greater trochanter was performed in 10 cadaveric hips and 12 hips of asymptomatic volunteers. Three bursae comprising the trochanteric bursa complex were injected, and conventional radiography and MR imaging were performed. The specimens were sectioned for anatomic analysis, corresponding to the MR imaging planes. Tendon attachments and bursal localization were related to the facets of the greater trochanter.


The bony surface of the greater trochanter consists of four facets: anterior, lateral, posterior, and superoposterior. The gluteus medius muscle attaches to the superoposterior and lateral facets. The gluteus minimus muscle attaches to the anterior facet. The trochanteric bursa covered the posterior facet and the lateral insertion of the gluteus medius muscle. The subgluteus medius bursa was located in the superior part of the lateral facet, underneath the gluteus medius tendon. The subgluteus minimus bursa lies in the area of the anterior facet, underneath the gluteus minimus tendon, medial and cranial to its insertion, and extends medially covering the distal anterior part of the hip joint capsule. The trochanteric bursa is delineated with fat on both sides and can be seen on transverse nonenhanced T1-weighted images as a fine line curving around the posterior part of the trochanter.


MR imaging and bursography provide detailed information about the anatomy of tendinous attachments of the abductor muscles and the bursal complex of the greater trochanter.

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