Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 45, Issue 8, pp 1061–1067 | Cite as

Magnetic resonance arthrography and the prevalence of acetabular labral tears in patients 50 years of age and older

  • Rohit JayakarEmail author
  • Alexa Merz
  • Benjamin Plotkin
  • Dean Wang
  • Leanne Seeger
  • Sharon L. Hame
Scientific Article



Arthroscopy for acetabular labral tears has minimal impact on pain and function in older patients, especially in the setting of concomitant osteoarthritis. Still, many physicians seek this diagnosis with MR arthrography. Our purpose is to assess the frequency of acetabular labral tears in older patients with hip pain and correlate likelihood of labral pathology with severity of osteoarthritis as visualized on conventional radiograph.

Materials and methods

From 2004 to 2013, 208 hip MRI arthrograms and corresponding radiographs on patients aged 50 years and older were identified. Age, gender, grade and location of labral tear, alpha angle, Tönnis grade, and joint space width were documented. Labral tears and alpha angle were identified and measured on MR arthrogram. Tönnis grade and joint space width were measured on radiographs.

Results and conclusions

On MR arthrography, true labral tearing was identified in 73 % of patients. There was some degree of labral pathology in 93.3 % of patients, and this increased to 100 % in patients with moderate to severe osteoarthritis, as defined by Tönnis grade 2–3 or joint space width ≤ 2 mm. There were no statistically significant correlations between labral tear grade and Tönnis grade or joint space width. Given the high frequency of labral pathology and the questionable efficacy of arthroscopic surgical intervention in older patients, MR arthrography should be primarily for those with minimal arthritis on radiograph and potential to benefit from surgery. If further imaging beyond radiographs is necessary in these patients, standard MRI may be a more appropriate imaging tool.


Acetabular labrum Labral tear Osteoarthritis Magnetic resonance imaging MR arthrography Hip arthroscopy Economic and decision analysis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© ISS 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rohit Jayakar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexa Merz
    • 1
  • Benjamin Plotkin
    • 2
  • Dean Wang
    • 1
  • Leanne Seeger
    • 2
  • Sharon L. Hame
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiological SciencesDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA

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