Contrast and nuclear arthrography in loosening of the uncemented hip prosthesis

J. Shannon Swan, Ethan M. Braunstein, Henry N. Wellman, William Capello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


The recent popularity of ingrowth or uncemented hip arthroplasties has presented problems in the radiographic diagnosis of loosening because there is no longer a cement interface in which lucencies may be seen. We evaluated a combination of positive contrast and nuclear arthrography to see whether these studies could accurately detect loosening of uncemented femoral components of hip prostheses. We performed routine contrast and nuclear arthrography in 21 patients with ingrowth total hip arthroplasties or bipolar endoprostheses. The results were surgically confirmed in 12 patients. The contrast arthrogram was true positive in 5 and false negative in 5. There were no false positives and 2 true negatives. The nuclear arthrogram was true positive in 7 patients, false negative in 3, and true negative in 2. Taken together, there was only 1 patient in whom both contrast and nuclear arthrography were false negative, and there were no false positives. Thus, when either contrast or nuclear arthrography is positive, the sensitivity of the combined procedures is 90%; when both studies are negative, the specificity is 100%. The combination of contrast and nuclear arthrography is an accurate method of determining loosening of the femoral component of an uncemented hip arthroplasty or bipolar endoprosthesis in the patient with postoperative hip pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-19
Number of pages5
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


  • Arthrography
  • Hip metallic fixation
  • Radionuclide imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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