To determine the prevalence of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging abnormalities after metal-on-metal total hip arthroplasty and to determine whether presence of symptoms correlates with findings at MR imaging.

This HIPAA-compliant study was approved by the institutional review board, and informed consent was waived. MR imaging was performed with conventional sequences and a 1.5-T clinical imager in 192 hips (174 patients) evaluated during a 15-month period. Two observers retrospectively reviewed the images for the presence and size of pseudotumor, communication with the pseudocapsule, wall thickness, synovial hypertrophy, compartmentalization, solid components, foci of wall susceptibility, osteolysis, bone marrow edema, abductor muscle or tendon abnormality, and Anderson MR grade (normal, infection, or varying severity of metal-on-metal disease). These findings were compared between asymptomatic and symptomatic patients by using the Fisher exact test or the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test, as appropriate.

Prevalence of pseudotumors per patient and per hip was 69% (120 of 174 patients, 132 of 192 hips). Bone marrow edema (present in six asymptomatic patients and 19 patients with pain, P < .01) and tendon tearing (present in five asymptomatic patients and 13 patients with pain, P < .05) were predictors of pain. Presence of symptoms was not correlated with presence (P = .4151) or size of pseudotumors. Anderson MR grade binarized into normal versus abnormal showed moderate agreement between readers (κ = 0.439) but was also not correlated with symptoms (P = .6648).

The presence of bone marrow edema and abductor tendon tears but not the presence or size of pseudotumor was associated with patient pain.