Long term hip pain is a common complaint, the hip joint is a ball and socket joint (the top of the thigh bone is a ball which fits into a hollow socket in the pelvis). The hip is the second most affected joint by osteoarthritis. This is a type of arthritis caused by thinning of cartilage, the tough connective ‘shock absorber’ tissue that protects the joint and stops bones rubbing together. When cartilage wears thin it causes friction and pain in the joints and the joint may need to be replaced with an artificial hip.
There are many other causes of hip pain apart from osteoarthritis, often involving soft tissues. MRI is often used as an adjunct to ultrasound scans and gives a lot more detail, especially for small structures and fraying and tears in cartilage.
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According to the National Joint Registry around one million hip replacements have been carried out in England since 2003, around 100,000 cases a year.
The hip joint itself is held together by muscles and secured to bones by tendons.
Hip pain symptoms:
Symptoms include pain in the groin, pain down the front of the leg, knee pain, (known as referred pain), pain on the outside of your hip or buttock pain and stiffness.
Some hip complaints can cause pain that is worse with bending, repetitive motion or worse after sitting down for extended periods.
Medserena’s hip MRI scan is carried out in an upright scanner so the hips can be viewed when they are in a natural weight-bearing position standing up. The bed is then angled at around 30 to 40 degrees. The hips can also be examined in various positions when extended or rotated.
This gives a detailed picture of what is happening in the hip joints as the force of gravity creates changes in the anatomy, potentially picking up problems that might have been missed or underestimated on a conventional flatbed MRI scanner. Replicating this normal compression allows doctors to better assess the alignment of the leg should the patient need surgery later.
MRI scans are painless and because in an open scanner a patient’s head is not enclosed, they are less intimidating for people who suffer from anxiety about being in confined spaces or have claustrophobia, a condition that affects around 10 per cent of the population.
Hip MRI scans can pick-up conditions such as:
Open MRI scanners are a stress-free alternative to using a conventional enclosed tunnel MRI scanner, providing comfort and reassurance for people who suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia. Standing upright is more comfortable for patients than lying down and the open front means patients can speak to a friend or relative or watch television throughout as distraction.
Open MRI scans can also accommodate some larger/ heavier patients who might have difficulty fitting comfortably into a conventional tunnel scanner, as they can take weights of up to 35 stones (226kg). However, suitability will depend on the patient’s body shape and the area of the anatomy that needs to be scanned.
Available to self-pay clients, clients with private health insurance and NHS patients where prior funding has been agreed by a clinical commissioning group.
The Upright MRI is truly open. There are no tunnels, no narrow tubes. The system is particularly quiet, the examination is comfortable and does not trigger feelings of being in a confined space. This means that the Upright MRI is particularly tolerated by patients who suffer from “claustrophobia”.
Because the system offers you an unrestricted view, you can watch TV or see DVD movies on a large screen during the scan. Wearing headphones – as with other MRI systems – is usually not necessary.
According to the current state of knowledge, there is no danger to the patient’s health as magnetic resonance imaging only uses magnetic fields and radio waves.
Metallic foreign bodies within the patient, such as fixed dental prosthesis, artificial joints or metal plates after treatment for a fracture do not usually pose any danger. However, it is important to clarify that the implants you use are MRI-compatible before the examination.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) utilises a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to form images of your body. It is non-invasive, painless and does not use any ionising radiation.
Our truly open MRI can scan you in different positions. Through the utilisation of a specially designed MRI system we can offer weight-bearing scans – sitting or standing. The design of the system allows the patient to be positioned in different postures (e.g. flexion or extension) so that the patient may be examined in the position where they experience pain. The reason to do this is that some pathologies are underestimated or even not seen in a conventional supine MRI scan. The technique has value in many applications: e.g. spine, knees, hips, ankles. This has been proven in scientific studies and documented in peer reviewed publications.
In addition, it offers the possibility of performing an MRI scan on patients who could not otherwise tolerate the examination. This may include the claustrophobic patient, who benefits from the truly open nature of the equipment, and the severely kyphotic patient or emphysema sufferer who simply cannot lie down. It can also facilitate scanning of large patients who struggle to fit conventional ‘bore’ MRI scanners.
Of course, we have a comfortable waiting area but if you want them to stay in the scan room with you, they will also need to fill out a safety questionnaire. There is enough space for a companion. The person can even hold your hand and communicate with you during the examination. This is particularly beneficial when examining teenager.
This depends above all on which part of the body needs to be examined. In the Upright MRI, special examinations can be carried out in various body positions. The entire scan generally takes between 30 and 45 minutes. However, since you have the opportunity to watch TV or DVD, this time will go by much quicker.
Eat and drink normally and, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, please continue taking medications as normal. If you have any special needs (e.g. wheelchair access) please inform us when making the appointment.
Your appointment confirmation; referral letter/form; Medical Insurance details if applicable. We accept all major debit/credit cards.
We will provide a gown/clothing for you to wear when you are scanned. If you prefer to wear your own, please ensure that you wear or bring clothing without any metal fasteners, zips or under-wiring as these cannot be worn in the scan room. The changing room can be locked for safe storage of your possessions.
You will be able to walk into the scanner. It has no tunnel or bore. You will be able to hear us and talk with us during your scan if necessary-and we will be able to see you at all times. Due to its open nature, you will even be able to watch TV or a DVD whilst having the scan. Depending on which part of you is being scanned, you may be asked to sit or stand, and assume different postures (for example bending forward.) The radiographer may place a receiver “coil” around the relevant area of your body. You will need to remain very still while the acquisition is done in order to prevent blurring of the images. You will hear some tapping from the scanner but in general it is much quieter than many other MRI scanners.
You will not feel anything while having the scan. There is no pain or unusual feeling of any type and you will experience no after effects.
YES. There are some things that can prevent you from having an MRI scan. You will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire on arrival at the Centre which will cover the contra-indications-but if you are making an appointment and any of the factors below affect you, please discuss this with us in advance as it may save you a wasted trip.
Contra-indications can include:
It is also important to tell us if you have any tattoos or piercings.
Watches, jewellery, coins, keys, cigarette lighters, penknives, credit cards. piercings, hairgrips, wigs, nicotine patches, and hearing aids must be removed.
Your scan will be reported by a Consultant Radiologist. It will normally be available in a couple of days unless needed urgently. The images and report will be sent to your referring practitioner. If you have a follow up appointment, please make us aware of the details so we can ensure the report and images are available in time.