Hong Kong Med J 2004;10:271-5 | Number 4, August 2004
Early magnetic resonance imaging of radiographically occult osteoporotic fractures of the femoral neck
YP Lee, JF Griffith, GE Antonio, N Tang, KS Leung
Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
Osteoporosis is associated with thinning of cortical and trabecular bone, which reduces bone strength and predisposes individuals to fracture development. Femoral neck fractures in patients with osteoporosis may not be apparent on radiographs. Magnetic resonance imaging is useful at detecting these radiographically occult fractures; yet, the practice has not been widely adopted in Hong Kong. In this article, we review our experience of early magnetic resonance imaging in this clinical context—that is, imaging performed within 48 hours of presentation to hospital. Twenty-eight patients (age range, 69-93 years) over a 3-year period were studied. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed radiographically occult neck fractures in 14 (50%) cases (equivalent to 4% of all femoral neck fractures). These fractures were treated surgically (64%) or conservatively (36%) with good bone healing and clinical outcome. When no femoral neck fracture was present, magnetic resonance imaging revealed an alternative cause for symptoms in all 14 cases. We strongly endorse the use of early magnetic resonance imaging for patients with osteoporosis who have a clinically suspected femoral neck fracture that is not visible radiographically.
Key words: Aged; Femoral neck fractures; Magnetic resonance imaging; Osteoporosis
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