Femoroacetabular impingement as a predictor for Osteoarthritis of the hip

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating disease characterized by the degeneration of cartilage. OA is a common disease among the elderly, affecting more than three-quarters of people over the age of 75. Research has suggested a link between the development of OA and femoracetabular impingement syndrome (FIS), a disease of the hip. In FIS, the femur makes contact with the acetabulum (the cup-like recess in the pelvis that acts as the socket in the joint), causing pain. This is most evident during periods of extreme range of motion and often occurs due a structural abnormality of either the femoral head or the acetabulum. Early detection of FIS has the potential to allow doctors to alleviate or arrest the onset of osteoarthritis. However, radiographs, which are the current standard of diagnosis, have limitations. Joshua Levitz’s research seeks to develop a better way to diagnose FIS. His study involves creating computerized, 3-D bony models of hips from MR images, to study hip alignment in both subjects diagnosed with FIS and healthy control subjects, and determine the significant factors characterizing FIS. By developing a more sensitive gold standard for diagnosing FIS, this research may provide a method for early prediction of OA.