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July 18, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

How Much Does a Hip MRI Cost?

A direct relationship has been established between hip fractures in the United States’ population and age. Fractures and hip pain are usually seen in older demographics, not just in the US but everywhere in the world.

Every year 300,000 people are hospitalized for hip-related trauma (predominantly fractures) and over 60% of hospital admissions are of people over the age of 65. Older women are more likely to complain of hip (and other osteologic) complaints.

The underlying cause of hip pain can vary from direct and indirect trauma to tumors and infections. It is therefore vital for a physician to make a correct assessment of what’s causing the pain and deduce a treatment plan for relieving it. Any delays in formulating an appropriate treatment plan can lead to dire consequences.

For example, arthritis caught on early can be managed or relieved with appropriate rehabilitation and medications. If the diagnosis is incorrect because of improper imaging, surgeries might become necessary.

Benefits of Hip MRI

Radiology refers to the branch of medicine that deals with imaging internal bodily functioning and systems. Imaging of the hip is particularly useful to also diagnose pathologies and traumas to the ilium, sacrum, lumbar spine, and associated muscles plus soft tissues.

Multiple images of the hip are necessary for a correct diagnosis and thereafter creating an adequate treatment plan. This includes:

  • wide-field imaging view for the hip, sacrum, and ilium.
  • Specific images afterward of individual, affected sites.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is one of the most sensitive tests for examining and diagnosing bone and surrounding soft tissues. MRI tests can detect stress fractures, soft tissue trauma, and infections.

Pathologies of the Hip

  • Osteoarthritis of the hip: arthritis commonly associated with old age and menopause
  • Labral tears of the hip
  • Fractures of the hip
  • Tendonitis or Trochanteric Bursitis
  • Femoroacetabular Impingement

Magnetic Imaging for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a complicated condition of multi-factorial origin. The underlying characteristic is the breakdown of the hyaline cartilage along articulating joints. The epidemiology is usually in older demographics (typical women after menopause).

Diagnosing osteoarthritis is often done via radiographs and imaging modalities such as MRIs and x-rays. These techniques are non-invasive (unless contrast dyes are used) because of their low costs, quick results, and accuracy. Between MRIs and radiographs, an MRI is considered the gold standard for hip OA since articular cartilage is visible and has a much higher resolution of surrounding tissues. There are multiple criteria that are used for OA, including multiple clinical prediction rules that incorporate limited hip internal rotation, hip pain with certain activities, and stiffness in the morning for sixty minutes or less. 

An MRI is a good tool for evaluating the many causes of pain that may surround the hip joint itself. There are several tendons that insert around the hip that can become inflamed or degenerated. Bursitis, usually located at the outside (lateral) part of the hip, can be painful. In addition, if you have had a recent injury or engaged in excessive athletic activity, your muscles can become injured (known as a “muscle strain”) and this can be detected by an MRI.

An MRI will often show unexpected causes of hip pain that may be originating from other nearby structures like the sacroiliac joints, pubic bones, or even the lower lumbar spine.

More worrisome sources of pain that could be coming from tumors, infection or necrosis of the bone (also known as AVN) can also be eliminated from the list of potential causes by doing an MRI. Some of these causes are evaluated by MRI with intravenous contrast.

How Much Does a Hip MRI Cost?

The normal expense of an MRI in the United States is $1,325, however, costs can go from $375 to $2,850. One factor that can significantly influence the expense of an MRI is whether it is covered by your insurance. The expense of an MRI will be higher in the event that you don't have medical coverage.

Another significant component that can extraordinarily influence the expense of an MRI is whether you have an in-patient office, similar to a medical clinic, or an out-patient medical procedure community. Outpatient clinics save you thousands on your hospital bill.

Different locations charge differently:

  • MRI cost in Southern California: $225 - $800
  • Cost Northern, Bay Area California: $450 - $1000
  • Dallas Texas: $656.25 - $1550
  • Chicago - $350 - $1400
  • Cost Hip MRI Florida: $300 -1275

When Would Your Physician Recommend an MRI?

Your physician would recommend an MRI for the hip if he or she suspects an underlying pathology not consistent with the initial diagnosis. Likewise, if he or she suspects a tumor or an infection that can potentially be dangerous or deadly.

You’ll have cause to visit your regular care physician if the swelling won’t go down, bleeding is uncontrollable, or if you experience pain for longer than a reasonable time frame.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and a healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.