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Post-closed reduction perfusion magnetic resonance imaging as a predictor of avascular necrosis in developmental hip dysplasia: a preliminary report.

INTRODUCTION: Avascular necrosis (AVN) of the femoral head remains a major complication in the treatment of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) in infants. We performed a retrospective analysis to look at the predictive ability of postclosed reduction contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for AVN after closed reduction in DDH.

METHODS: Twenty-eight hips in 27 infants (aged 1-11 months) with idiopathic hip dislocations who had failed brace treatment underwent closed reduction +/- adductor tenotomy and spica cast application under general anesthesia. Magnetic resonance imaging of the hips after intravenous gadolinium contrast injection for evaluation of epiphyseal perfusion was obtained immediately after cast application. Patients were followed with serial radiographs for a minimum of 1 year after closed reduction. Presence of AVN was determined by the presence of any one of the 5 Salter criteria by 2 readers. Magnetic resonance imaging was graded as normal, asymmetric enhancement, focal decreased enhancement, or global decreased enhancement by 2 radiologists.

RESULTS: Six (21%) of 28 hips showed evidence of clinically significant AVN on follow-up radiographs. Fifty percent of the hips with AVN, but only 2 of 22 hips without AVN, showed a global decreased MRI enhancement (P < 0.05, Fisher exact test). Multivariate logistic regression indicated that a global decreased enhancement was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing AVN (P < 0.01), independently of age at reduction (P = 0.02) and abduction angle.

CONCLUSIONS: In addition to accurate anatomical assessment of a closed reduction in DDH, gadolinium-enhanced MRI provides information about femoral head perfusion that may be predictive for future AVN. At present, it is premature to use the perfusion information for routine clinical use. However, it opens the door to studies looking at repositioning or alternative reduction methods that may reduce the risk of AVN in this higher risk group.

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