Avascular necrosis of the femoral head: morphologic assessment by MR imaging, with CT correlation.
To better understand the morphologic appearance of avascular necrosis (AVN) of the femoral head on magnetic resonance (MR) images (1.5 T) and computed tomographic (CT) scans, the records of 21 lesions were reviewed retrospectively. All MR imaging studies included T1-weighted images (T1WI) (repetition times [TR] of 400-1,000 msec, and echo times [TE] of 20-25 msec), and 15 included T2-weighted images (T2WI) (TR = 2,000-2,500 msec; TE = 60-80 msec). MR signal features of the lesions were compared with features on the corresponding CT scans. Abnormalities in the superoanterior aspect of the femoral head were noted on both image types in all 21 lesions but were more obvious on MR images in two. A characteristic margin of peripheral sclerosis seen on CT scans in 95% (20 of 21) of lesions corresponded to a line of low intensity on MR images. Fractures complicating AVN were seen in eight lesions at CT scanning. On T1WI, fractures were not clearly delineated. On T2WI, fractures were of high intensity but were depicted less clearly than on CT scans. Central signal intensity of the lesions on T1WI correlated with the presence or absence of fracture: 88% (seven of eight) of the lesions with fractures appeared less intense than fat, compared with only 8% (one of 13) of lesions without fractures (P less than .005). While MR imaging is a sensitive method for early diagnosis of AVN, CT scanning can more accurately identify fractures and is thus important for staging.
Mitchell, DG; Kressel, HY; Arger, PH; Dalinka, M; Spritzer, CE; Steinberg, ME
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