Preoperative MRI Offers Questionable Clinical Utility, Delays Time to Hip Arthroscopy, and Lacks Cost-Effectiveness in Patients Aged ≤40 Years With Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome: A Retrospective 5-Year Analysis


      To assess the clinical utility of preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and quantify the delay in surgical care for patients aged ≤40 years undergoing primary hip arthroscopy with history, physical examination, and radiographs concordant with femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (FAIS).


      From August 2015 to December 2020, 1,786 consecutive patients were reviewed from the practice of 1 fellowship-trained hip arthroscopist. Inclusion criteria were FAIS, primary surgery, and age ≤40 years. Exclusion criteria were MRI contraindication, reattempt of conservative management, or concomitant periacetabular osteotomy. After nonoperative treatment options were exhausted and a surgical plan was established, patients were stratified by those who presented with versus without MRI. Those without existing MRI received one, and any deviations from the surgical plan were noted. All preoperative MRIs were compared with office evaluation and intraoperative findings to assess agreement. Demographic data, Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (HOOS)-Pain, and time from office to MRI or arthroscopy were recorded.


      Of the patients indicated by history, physical examination, and radiographs alone (70% female, body mass index 24.8 kg/m2, age 25.9 years), 198 patients presented without MRI and 934 with MRI. None of the 198 had surgical plans altered after MRI. Patients in both groups had MRI findings demonstrating anterosuperior labral tears that were visualized and repaired intraoperatively. Mean time from office to arthroscopy for patients without MRI versus those with was 107.0 ± 67 and 85.0 ± 53 days, respectively (P < .001). Time to MRI was 22.8 days. No difference between groups was observed among the 85% of patients who surpassed the HOOS-Pain minimal clinically important difference (MCID).


      Once indicated for surgery based on history, physical examination, and radiographs, preoperative MRI did not alter the surgical plan for patients aged ≤40 years with FAIS undergoing primary hip arthroscopy. Moreover, preoperative MRI delayed time to arthroscopy. The necessity of routine preoperative MRI in the young primary FAIS population should be challenged.
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