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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Open MRI investigation of contact mechanics in cam femoroacetabular impingement Buchan, Lawrence Lewis


Cam femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a mechanical process thought to cause of hip osteoarthritis (OA). In cam FAI, it is thought that a ‘cam deformity’ on the femoral head-neck junction intrudes into the intra-articular joint space, inducing elevated mechanical force on acetabular cartilage. However, few experimental studies have measured contact mechanics in FAI. Open MRI in functional positions has potential to directly and non-invasively assess cam FAI, but MRI measures have not been related to mechanics. This thesis asked, in cadaver hips positioned in a simulated anterior impingement posture: (1) Does open MRI show intrusion of a cam deformity into the intra-articular joint space? (2) Is a cam deformity associated with elevated acetabular contact force? (3) Are MRI measures of cam FAI related to acetabular contact force? Cadaver hips (cam, n=9; controls, n=3) were positioned in a simulated anterior impingement posture, then imaged using open MRI with multi-planar reformatting. The β-angle was measured at 72 locations about the circumference of the femoral neck, and a binary ‘MRI cam-intrusion sign’ was defined (positive if βmin<0°). Hips were then instrumented with a piezoresistive sensor before conducting six repeated impingement trials, measuring acetabular contact force (F), centroid location, and distribution. A binary ‘contact-force sign’ (positive when F>20N) defined elevated contact force. Minimum β-angle ranged from 1.4° to -28.5° in cams versus 4.6° to -0.2° in controls. Cam hips were significantly more likely than controls to have a positive MRI cam-intrusion sign (p=0.0182, Fisher’s exact test) and positive contact-force sign (p=0.0083). There was a significant relationship between the MRI cam-intrusion sign and contact-force sign (p=0.033). This thesis established that open MRI measures of cam FAI relate to contact mechanics, indicating that open MRI has significant potential to investigate the biomechanics of cam impingement. Open MRI can be used to establish treatment guidelines and understand why some hips develop OA and some do not.

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