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J Arthroplasty. 2007 Sep;22(6):818-27. Epub 2007 Mar 28.

The use of plain radiography, subtraction arthrography, nuclear arthrography, and bone scintigraphy in the diagnosis of a loose acetabular component of a total hip prosthesis: a systematic review.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This meta-analysis was performed to summarize and compare the diagnostic performance and diagnostic accuracy of radiographic and scintigraphic techniques in the evaluation of patients suspected of having aseptically loose acetabular components. Twenty-eight studies, published between January 1975 and October 2004, presented sufficient data for quantitative analysis. The pooled sensitivity and specificity rates for plain radiography were 70% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 59%-79%) and 80% (95% CI = 73%-86%), respectively; those for subtraction arthrography were 89% (95% CI = 84%-93%) and 76% (95% CI = 68%-82%), respectively; and those for nuclear arthrography were 87% (95% CI = 57%-97%) and 64% (95% CI = 40%-82%), respectively. Finally, bone scintigraphy had a sensitivity of 67% (95% CI = 57%-76%) and a specificity of 75% (95% CI = 64%-83%). We found a significantly higher sensitivity for subtraction arthrography as compared with plain radiography and bone scintigraphy. Therefore, subtraction arthrography is recommended for use as an additional diagnostic technique when plain radiography is found to be inconclusive.

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