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Hip - Left

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A guide to hip pain: hip scans, imaging & more

Hip pain is a common problem affecting many people, primarily adults. Although hip pain is more prevalent among older adults, it has also become widespread in young adults. According estimates from 2019, the incidence of hip osteoarthritis has increased from 17.02% to 18.70% over the last 30 years.

Hip injuries, such as fractures, primarily affect older adults in the United States. According to the CDC, over 300,000 people above 65 years of age are hospitalized yearly for hip fractures in the U.S.

Hip scans can confirm diagnoses for a range of hip-related conditions. The best way to get you on the road to recovery is with an accurate diagnosis.

Why do I need a hip scan?

Hip pain happens as we age, especially if we maintain an active lifestyle. However, certain early warning signs should encourage you to seek a hip scan. If you frequently experience hip pain or groin pain that affects your mobility, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention. It could be a sign of degenerative conditions affecting the hip.

You might also need a hip scan if you are experiencing stiffness in the hip. A hip scan can reveal the specific cause of the stiffness and help a doctor determine the best course of treatment.

You might also need a hip scan if you experience swelling or tenderness around the hip area. This can be a sign of either new or chronic damage to the hip and its surrounding structures.

What does a hip scan show?

A hip scan produces a detailed image of your hip and pelvic area. Several neighboring structures are visible on the image, including:

  • Upper femur
  • Pelvis
  • Coccyx
  • Cartilage
  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Reproductive organs
  • Additional soft tissues

Getting clear images of the hips and pelvis can help doctors pinpoint the source of your pain. That's the first step to successful treatment, and it's an important one.

Common hip pain causes

Hip pain can be caused by so many things, but there are a few that explain hip pain more commonly than others:

  • Arthritis. One of the main causes of hip pain is arthritis. It creates inflammation of the hip joint and causes the deterioration of the cartilage that supports your hip bones. Hip osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of hip pain among much older adults worldwide.
  • Muscle or ligament strain. Overuse of the muscles or tendons in the hip can cause inflammation and strain. This can cause pain or tenderness around the hip area.
  • Hip fractures Hip fractures are more common as we age since our bones weaken with time. This makes them more prone to breaking if we experience a fall or accident.
  • Tendonitis. Tendons attach our muscles to our bones. When these tendons are under constant stress, it can lead to inflammation, known as tendinitis.

Common hip pain-related diagnoses

Some of the most common hip pain-related diagnoses include:

  • Trauma
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Synovitis
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD)

Scans for hip pain

Not all hip pain will require a scan; sometimes your doctor can diagnose you based on just a physical evaluation. However, if your pain is worsening or isn't improving, a scan may be the best way to get detailed insight into the source of your pain and what treatments you're likely to respond well to.

Hip CT scan

Computed Tomography (CT) scans capture images of the hip by moving a concentrated beam of X-rays around the area. The computer stitches individual pictures together to show a comprehensive image of the muscles, bones, tendons, and blood vessels within the hip.

Hip MRI scan

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan uses a magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to generate pictures of the inner structures of the hip. MRIs show the hip's tendons, cartilage, ligaments, organs, and bones. Although they produce images similar to a CT scan, they tend to be more detailed, particularly when contrast dye is used.

Hip ultrasound

A hip ultrasound aids in diagnosing hip problems near the surface or outside of the hip joint. Sound waves show delicate tissues surrounding the joints, tendons, and muscles.

How much does a hip scan cost?

The cost of MRI scans can vary dramatically based on a number of individual factors.

The average cost of a hip MRI in the U.S. is around $1,300. It typically ranges between $350 to $3,000, depending on your insurance coverage.

The average cost of a hip CT scan in the U.S. is $3,275. Prices tend to range from $300 to $6,750.

How long does a hip scan take?

A hip MRI scan takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes in most cases. A hip CT scan procedure takes roughly 15 to 30 minutes, while a hip ultrasound examination is usually done in under 20 minutes.

Find a hip scan medical imaging center near me

If you need a hip scan, find a comprehensive list of diagnostic imaging centers near you using scan.com’s scan search tool.

Resources:
  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mri/about/pac-20384768
  2. https://www.hss.edu/conditions_imaging-for-hip-pain.asp
  3. https://arthritis-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13075-021-02705-6
  4. https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info/us-hip
  5. https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/bones-joints-and-muscles/hip-fracture/diagnosis/ct-scan.html
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mri/about/pac-20384768