What tests are used to diagnose femoroacetabular impingement?
As part of testing for femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), experts at Children's Colorado will discuss your child's complete medical history and do a physical exam to rule out other causes of hip pain. We'll examine your child to see if he or she experiences pain with hip motion, has a limited range of motion in the hip and/or has a history of common symptoms such as groin stiffness or pain.
Our doctors will also do a test called an impingement test, which recreates hip symptoms with motions of flexion, adduction and internal rotation (bringing the knee up towards the chest and towards the opposite shoulder).
Imaging studies are very important for the diagnosis of FAI. A special series of hip X-rays will help our doctors look for signs of hip impingement, such as a non-spherical upper femur or a misshaped hip socket. Other common tests are the CT scan (or CAT scan) and MRI. A CT scan helps doctors see mild hip deformities that are less evident on an X-ray. An MRI of the hip is used to help establish the FAI diagnosis, look for other causes of pain, and analyze the stage of injury to the acetabular labrum and cartilage.
Why choose Children's Colorado for femoroacetabular impingement tests?
In our Hip Program at Children's Colorado we have orthopedic providers subspecialized to work specifically with hips. We use X-rays, CT scans and MRI to determine a diagnosis. The hospital has a special MRI technique called a dGEMRIC (delayed gadolinium enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of the cartilage) which provides the doctor with a more accurate measurement of the health of the cartilage in the hip. In treating FAI it is important to understand if the cartilage is damaged and the extent of the damage.
What to expect from these tests
X-rays are taken up in clinic during your visit with the provider. CT and MRI scans are performed in the Radiology Department. The CT Scans take approximately 15 minutes to complete. The MRI in patients older than six years old is typically not a sedated procedure and lasts approximately forty-five minutes to one hour. The dGEMRIC MRI requires IV placement of contrast before the scan is done. Feel free to have your child bring a movie or music and wear comfy clothes during the MRI.
How do providers at Children's Colorado make a diagnosis?
Our providers are able to form an individualized diagnosis based on patient history, findings from the physical examination and results of the ordered imaging studies.