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Word of the Day

75% of asymptomatic volunteers have hip abnormalities on MRI

Clinical Question:
How common are hip abnormalities found on magnetic resonance imaging of asymptomatic adults?

Bottom Line:
In this population of active skiers, approximately 75% of asymptomatic volunteers had at least one hip abnormality on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). (LOE = 3b)

Register B, Pennock AT, Ho CP, Strickland CD, Lawand A, Philippon MJ. Prevalence of abnormal hip findings in asymptomatic participants: a prospective, blinded study. Am J Sports Med 2012;40(12):2720-2724.  [PMID:23104610]

Study Design:

Unknown/not stated


The authors recruited 45 healthy volunteers from a rural skiing community by word of mouth. To be eligible, the volunteers had to be without contraindication to MRI and free of hip problems: no history of pain, injury, or surgery. The volunteers' average age was 38 years (range = 18 to 66); 28 were men, 17 were women. Most of the patients were quite active: 99% engaged in leisure-time activity and only 10% were obese. Fellowship-trained musculoskeletal radiologists reviewed the MRIs. The researchers peppered the stack of their images with images of 19 symptomatic patients of similar age in an attempt to mask the radiologists. Additionally, each radiologist was given a checklist of potential findings. If 2 of the radiologists noted one of the findings, the researchers deemed the abnormality to be present. Approximately 75% of the volunteers had at least one abnormality. Approximately two thirds had a labral tear and one tenth had a fracture of the acetabular rim.


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