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Computed tomography arthrography with traction in the human hip for three-dimensional reconstruction of cartilage and the acetabular labrum

C R Henak, C L Abraham, C L Peters, R K Sanders, J A Weiss, A E Anderson
Clinical Radiology 2014, 69 (10): e381-91

AIM: To develop and demonstrate the efficacy of a computed tomography arthrography (CTA) protocol for the hip that enables accurate three-dimensional reconstructions of cartilage and excellent visualization of the acetabular labrum.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ninety-three subjects were imaged (104 scans); 68 subjects with abnormal anatomy, 11 patients after periacetabular osteotomy surgery, and 25 subjects with normal anatomy. Fifteen to 25 ml of contrast agent diluted with lidocaine was injected using a lateral oblique approach. A Hare traction splint applied traction during CT. The association between traction force and intra-articular joint space was assessed qualitatively under fluoroscopy. Cartilage geometry was reconstructed from the CTA images for 30 subjects; the maximum joint space under traction was measured.

RESULTS: Using the Hare traction splint, the intra-articular space and boundaries of cartilage could be clearly delineated throughout the joint; the acetabular labrum was also visible. Dysplastic hips required less traction (∼5 kg) than normal and retroverted hips required (>10 kg) to separate the cartilage. An increase in traction force produced a corresponding widening of the intra-articular joint space. Under traction, the maximum width of the intra-articular joint space during CT ranged from 0.98-6.7 mm (2.46 ± 1.16 mm).

CONCLUSIONS: When applied to subjects with normal and abnormal hip anatomy, the CTA protocol presented yields clear delineation of the cartilage and the acetabular labrum. Use of a Hare traction splint provides a simple, cost-effective method to widen the intra-articular joint space during CT, and provides flexibility to vary the traction as required.


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