Metal Artefact Reduction Sequences (MARS) in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) after Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA)

Background: In the past, radiographic imaging was of minor relevance in the diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infections (PJI). Since metal artefact reduction sequences (MARS) are available, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become a promising diagnostic tool for the evaluation of hip arthroplasty implants. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of MARS-MRI in comparison to established diagnostic tools to distinguish between aseptic failure and PJI.

Methods: From July 2018 to September 2019, 33 patients classified as having an aseptic joint effusion were recruited into the study. The group included 22 women and 11 men with a mean age of 70.4 ± 13.7 (42–88) years. In the same period, 12 patients were classified as having a PJI. The group consisted of 9 women and 3 men with a mean age of 72.5 ± 10.6 (54–88) years. MARS-MRI was conducted using the optimized parameters at 1.5 T in a coronal and axial STIR (short-tau-inversion recovery), a non-fat-saturated T2 in coronal view and a non-fat-saturated T1 in transverse view in 45 patients with painful hip after total hip arthroplasty (THA). Normally distributed continuous data were shown as mean ± standard deviation (SD) and compared using student's t-test. Non-normally distributed continuous data were shown as mean and compared using the Mann–Whitney U test.

Results: Synovial layering and muscle edema were significant features of periprosthetic joint infection, with sensitivities of 100% and specifities of 63.0—75.0%. The combined specifity and sensitivity levels of synovial layering and muscular edema was 88.0% and 90.0%. Granulomatous synovitis was a significant feature for aseptic failure, with 90.0% sensitivity and 57.0% specifity.

Conclusion: MARS-MRI is as suitable as standard diagnostic tools to distinguish between aseptic failure and PJI in patients with THA. Further studies with larger patient numbers have to prove whether MARS-MRI could be integral part of PJI diagnostic.


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