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The value of T1-weighted coronal MRI scans in diagnosing occult fracture of the hip

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A delay in establishing the diagnosis of an occult fracture of the hip that remains unrecognised after plain radiography can result in more complex treatment such as an arthroplasty being required. This might be avoided by earlier diagnosis using MRI. The aim of this study was to investigate the best MR imaging sequence for diagnosing such fractures. From a consecutive cohort of 771 patients admitted between 2003 and 2011 with a clinically suspected fracture of the hip, we retrospectively reviewed the MRI scans of the 35 patients who had no evidence of a fracture on their plain radiographs. In eight of these patients MR scanning excluded a fracture but the remaining 27 patients had an abnormal scan: one with a fracture of the pubic ramus, and in the other 26 a T1-weighted coronal MRI showed a hip fracture with 100% sensitivity. T2-weighted imaging was undertaken in 25 patients, in whom the diagnosis could not be established with this scanning sequence alone, giving a sensitivity of 84.0% for T2-weighted imaging.

If there is a clinical suspicion of a hip fracture with normal radiographs, T1-weighted coronal MRI is the best sequence of images for identifying a fracture.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr S. Nozawa; e-mail:

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