ACR Appropriateness Criteria Osteonecrosis of the Hip

Mark D. Murphey, Catherine C. Roberts, Jenny T. Bencardino, Marc Appel, Erin Arnold, Eric Y. Chang, Molly E. Dempsey, Michael G. Fox, Ian Blair Fries, Bennett S. Greenspan, Mary G. Hochman, Jon A. Jacobson, Douglas N. Mintz, Joel S. Newman, Zehava S. Rosenberg, David A. Rubin, Kirstin M. Small, Barbara N. Weissman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Osteonecrosis of the hip (Legg-Calvé-Perthes) is a common disease, with 10,000-20,000 symptomatic cases annually in the United States. The disorder affects both adults and children and is most frequently associated with trauma and corticosteroid usage. The initial imaging evaluation of suspected hip osteonecrosis is done using radiography. MRI is the most sensitive and specific imaging modality for diagnosis of osteonecrosis of the hip. The clinical significance of hip osteonecrosis is dependent on its potential for articular collapse. The likelihood of articular collapse is significantly increased with involvement of greater than 30%-50% of the femoral head area, which is optimally evaluated by MRI, often in the sagittal plane. Contrast-enhanced MRI may be needed to detect early osteonecrosis of the hip in pediatric patients, revealing hypoperfusion. In patients with a contraindication for MRI, use of either CT or bone scintigraphy with SPECT (single-photon emission CT) are alternative radiologic methods of assessment. Imaging helps guide treatment, which may include core decompression, osteotomy, and ultimately, need for joint replacement. The ACR Appropriateness Criteria® are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed every three years by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and review include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer-reviewed journals and the application of a well-established consensus methodology (modified Delphi) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures by the panel. In those instances in which evidence is lacking or not definitive, expert opinion may be used to recommend imaging or treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-155
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Appropriateness criteria
  • MRI
  • adult
  • child
  • osteonecrosis
  • radiograph

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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