We recently reported that typical abnormalities of avascular necrosis (AVN) in magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the hips of asymptomatic renal transplant recipients whose plain radiographs are normal may improve spontaneously and even disappear completely. We present the results of serial bone scans, most of which were performed with single-photon emission computed tomography obtained over periods as long as 24 mo after transplantation in 72 of these patients. Three paired imaging studies (i.e., MR and bone scan performed within 30 days of each other) were available for each of these patients. In three patients, both the MR images and the bone scans showed changes consistent with bilateral AVN within 4 mo after transplantation. All three patients developed hip pain which was bilateral in two and unilateral in one. Two patients (three hips) required surgical intervention at which time AVN was found on pathologic examination of all three hips. None of the remaining 69 patients developed hip pain during the study. However, in nine patients whose MR studies were consistently normal, at least one bone scan was abnormal (13 hips). The presence of AVN was pathologically confirmed in each of the hips subjected to surgery. Where the imaging findings were identical to those in the asymptomatic patients as well as those in whom the imaging abnormality regressed, we suggest that the subclinical imaging abnormalities represent mild AVN, which is reversible in some cases. Since the process was identified in 10 hips by MRI and in 13 hips by bone scan, both studies are needed to detect subclinical AVN. This may be important if treatment of subclinical disease is clearly shown to prevent progression to symptomatic AVN.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Nuclear Medicine|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1993|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging