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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2001 May;(386):54-63.

Multimodal imaging quantitation of the lesion size in osteonecrosis of the femoral head.

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Department of Radiology, University of Ioannina, School of Medicine, Greece.


Early diagnosis of osteonecrosis of the femoral head is important for initiating early treatment, which is associated with a more favorable outcome for patients. Confusion in evaluating the severity of the disease, and the clinical outcome after treatment partially is attributed to the use of various staging systems that are based on qualitative rather than quantitative criteria. At the authors' institution, 45 patients (77 hips) with osteonecrosis of the femoral head were evaluated using a multimodal imaging approach that included conventional radiography, bone scintigraphy, and magnetic resonance imaging. A computerized image analysis program that allowed quantification of the lesion size on radiographs and magnetic resonance images was used. Measurements of the extent of involvement on radiographs and selected serial magnetic resonance images were compared in 33 hips (42.9%) before collapse versus 44 hips (57.1%) after collapse. The size of the necrotic lesion varied significantly according to the specific stage of disease. Quantification of the lesion during the course of the disease provided a record of the progression of osteonecrosis, despite a spurious stability in staging. In general, conventional radiography closely approximated measurements of the lesion size obtained by magnetic resonance imaging. Bone scintigraphy and magnetic resonance imaging were well suited for detection of osteonecrosis at an early stage. Finally, precise quantification of the lesion size was an optimal preoperative means for evaluating the extent of involvement of the femoral head in the early and advanced stages of osteonecrosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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