Hip pain is a common complaint but if left untreated can cause damage to the joint space and the bone. X-ray and MRI are tools that the orthopedic surgeon uses to evaluate a patient’s joint pain. One condition that these imaging modalities can show is Avascular necrosis, and in this case affecting the hip joint.
This is an x-ray of the hip joint. An x-ray is a picture taken of the inside of your body that shows the bones, alignment, joint space and any changes in tissue density (e.g. abnormal fluid or tumor). Findings from an x-ray can help a doctor decide if a more detailed imaging study is necessary.
The image below is a slice of a hip MRI. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and is ordered if high detail imaging of a body part/joint is required to make an accurate diagnosis. In MRI a strong magnetic field, magnetic field gradients, and radio waves are used to generate a series of images (slices) on the computer.
The above images show Avascular necrosis of the hip joint. Avascular necrosis is where the bone tissue dies due to a disruption in the blood flow to the area. Many things can result in a reduction of blood flow, including a broken bone, dislocated joint, or injury. Anyone can be effected, but it is most common in people ages 30-50.
What are common symptoms?
As this condition worsens, the pain is felt with weight bearing activity and eventually with lying down. Pain usually develops gradually and can be felt in the center of the groin, thigh or buttock areas.
Recommendations and early diagnosis:
The recommended surgical intervention for Avascular necrosis is Core Decompression of the bone. Our Missoula Bone & Joint hip surgeons perform this surgery at the Missoula Bone & Joint day surgery center. If diagnosed early this procedure is successful in preventing the collapse of the bone and preventing the development of arthritis. This procedure involves drilling into the femoral neck, up into the necrotic area of the femoral head, to get the bone to heal faster.
Don’t let joint pain go untreated, call to schedule your appointment today (406) 721-4436.