Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: May 2013 - Volume 471 - Issue 5 - p 1628–1631 doi: 10.1007/s11999-013-2802-4 Clinical Research

A Positive Hip Arthrogram May Predict Lower Function in Patients with Primary Hip Arthroplasty

Lim, Jason, B. T., MBChB (Hons)1, a; Horey, Lynne, MA2; Patil, Sanjeev, FRCS (Tr & Orth)2; Meek, Robert, M. D., MD, FRCS (Tr & Orth)2

Background A local anesthetic hip arthrogram is a simple test mainly used as an adjunct to define the origin of hip pain. Temporary pain relief (a positive response) following an injection may lead to a surgeon recommending hip surgery. However, it is unclear whether relief of pain corresponds to better postoperative pain relief or function.


Questions/purposes We therefore compared the function in patients with a positive response to a local anesthetic hip arthrogram who underwent primary THA and patients with typical osteoarthritis presentation who underwent primary THA without a preoperative arthrogram.


Methods We retrospectively reviewed 22 patients who had a positive response to a local anesthetic hip arthrogram who subsequently underwent primary hip arthroplasty and a control group of 74 patients who had typical osteoarthritis hip pain and subsequent primary hip arthroplasty without having a previous arthrogram. All patients completed the Oxford Hip Score, WOMAC™ function short form, and the SF-12 preoperatively and at regular clinical followups. The minimum followups were 28 months (mean, 42 months; range, 28-72 months) for the study group and 33 months (mean, 52 months; range, 33-73 months) for the control group.


Results Patients in the arthrogram group had lower mean functional scores: 30 versus 39 for the Oxford Hip Score, 39 versus 46 for the WOMAC™, and 36 versus 42 for the physical component of the SF-12.


Conclusions Preoperative use of a local anesthetic hip arthrogram remains an important tool to differentiate spinal disorders or confirm the hip as the cause of pain. However, patients who have a preoperative hip arthrogram to clarify symptoms may report a lower function score and pain relief than patients who do not.


Level of Evidence Level III, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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