OBJECTIVE: To determine the reference intervals (RefInt) of the quantitative morphometric parameters of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) in asymptomatic hips with computed tomography (CT) and determine their dependence on age, side, limb dominance and sex.
METHODS: We prospectively included 590 patients and evaluated 1111 hips with semi-automated CT analysis. We calculated overall, side- and sex-specific parameters for imaging signs of cam [omega and alpha angle (α°)] and pincer-type morphology [acetabular version (ACvers), lateral centre-edge angle (LCEA) and cranio-caudal coverage].
RESULTS: Hip shape was symmetrical and did not depend on limb dominance. The 95% RefInt limits were sex-different for all cam-type parameters and extended beyond current abnormal thresholds. Specifically, the upper limits of RefInt for α° at 12:00, 1:30 and 3:00 o'clock positions were 56°, 70° and 58°, respectively, and 45° for LCEA. Acetabular morphology varied between age groups, with a trend toward an LCEA/ACvers increase over time.
CONCLUSION: Our morphometric measurements can be used to estimate normal hip morphology in asymptomatic individuals. Notably they extended beyond current thresholds used for FAI imaging diagnosis, which was most pronounced for cam-type parameters. We suggest the need to reassess α° RefInt and consider a 60° threshold for the 12:00/3:00 positions and 65-70° for other antero-superior positions.
KEY POINTS: • Hip shape is symmetrical regardless of limb dominance. • Pincer/cam morphology is frequent in asymptomatic subjects (20 and 71%, respectively). • LCEA and acetabular version increases with age (5-7° between opposite age groups). • Femoral morphology is stable after physeal closure (in the absence of pathology). • Alpha and omega angle thresholds should be set according to sex.
- Femoroacetabular impingement
- Multidetector computed tomography
- Reference value
- Normal value