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Diagnostic Tests

There are a variety of tests used to diagnose hip injuries. Those tests include:

This procedure uses low-level radiation that passes through the body to produce a two-dimensional picture called a radiograph. An x-ray can diagnose fractures or other problems of the bones.

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a procedure that uses a powerful magnet linked to a computer to create pictures of areas inside the hip. During the procedure, you will lie in a cylindrical chamber where energy from a powerful magnet is passed through the hip. An MRI is particularly useful for detecting soft tissue damage.

CT Scan
A computerized axial tomography, or CT, scan is a painless procedure where x-rays are passed through the hip at different angles, detected by a scanner, and analyzed by a computer. CT scan images show soft tissues such as ligaments or muscles more clearly than conventional x-rays. The computer can combine individual images to produce a three-dimensional view of the hip.

Bone Scan
A bone scan, also called radionuclide scanning, is a technique for creating images of bones on a computer screen. Prior to the procedure, a contrast material is injected into your bloodstream. The material collects in the bones, particularly in abnormal areas of the bones, and is detected by a scanner.

MR Arthrogram
An MR arthrogram uses an injection of a contrast fluid into the hip joint to outline structures of the hip. If disease or an injury is present, this contrast fluid may either leak into an area where it does not belong, indicating a tear or opening, or be blocked from entering an area where there normally is an opening.

Arthroscopy is a surgical technique in which the provider manipulates a small, lighted camera called an arthroscope that has been inserted into the joint through a small incision in the hip. Images of the inside of the hip joint are projected onto a monitor. Arthroscopy is almost never used for diagnosis alone, but as a surgical treatment. Diagnostic arthroscopy is the first part of arthroscopic surgery.