MR Imaging of the Hip: Avoiding Pitfalls, Identifying Normal Variants

Brian Y. Chan, MD; Hailey Allen, MD; Kirkland W. Davis, MD, FACR; Donna G. Blankenbaker, MD


Appl Radiol. 2018;47(12):8-14. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The hip is a complex ball-and-socket joint comprising the acetabulum, proximal femur, and articular cartilage. In addition, the capsulo labral tissues and surrounding muscles and tendons stabilize the hip, dictate its range of motion, and enhance its function. Familiarity with the spectrum of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) appearances of the hip is necessary to recognize normal variants and distinguish them from true pathologic conditions.

This article provides a brief overview of considerations in tailoring protocols of the bony pelvis and hip to optimize detection of both intra- and extra-articular hip pathology, followed by a review of common labral, osteocartilaginous, and soft tissue variants that can be mistaken for true pathology.