Early diagnosis of occult hip fractures: MRI versus CT scan

Objective:

We compared Computerised Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in diagnosis of a painful hip in elderly patients after trauma. We report on accuracy, efficiency and benefits.

Design:

We assessed 13 patients, average age 73 years, after fall with plain X-rays showing no evidence of fracture. There were two groups: Group A (six patients) underwent CT and MRI; Group B underwent MRI only.

Results:

In Group A where all of the six patients underwent CT and MRI, four of the CT images resulted in misdiagnosis due to inaccuracy. In Group B where all the seven patients underwent only MRI, all the results were accurate and enabled a precise and fast diagnosis.

Conclusions:

MRI was found to be a more accurate modality than CT scan for obtaining early diagnosis of occult hip fractures. These results point out the advantage of immediate MRI imaging in patients with occult hip fracture enabling a more effective treatment, a shorter hospitalisation period entailing decreased medical costs.

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