Normal hip joint fluid volumes in healthy children of different ages, based on MRI volumetric quantitative measurement



While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pelvis and hips is common in pediatric patients, to date there are no data on the quantification of normal hip joint fluid volume in this patient population.


We sought to assess the feasibility and reliability of quantitative hip joint fluid measurement in the pediatric population to estimate the normal volume of fluid in a pediatric hip joint.

Materials and methods

Seventy healthy children ages 8–17 years underwent a pelvic MRI including a large field of view coronal T2 fat-saturated sequence where hips were entirely imaged. Following 3 training sessions, 2 readers with experience in musculoskeletal imaging performed volumetric quantitative measurements of hip fluid (140 hips) using semiautomated pixel-based thresholding on custom MATLAB software.


The mean processing time per hip was 2 min, 41 s. The mean volume of fluid in a hip joint was 2.1 mL (range: 0.38–5.41 mL), increasing slightly with age. Volumes were also greater in boys than in girls (P=0.004). Intra-observer and interobserver agreement were high (intra-class correlation coefficients 0.93 and 0.98, respectively), with mean volume differences of 0.04 mL for intra-observer and 0.09 mL for interobserver.


A semiautomated pixel-based thresholding approach was feasible and reliable for measuring joint fluid in pediatric hip MRI. The average fluid volume of 2.1 mL can represent a visually substantial quantity of fluid per MRI slice, particularly in small children, and should not be misinterpreted as a joint effusion.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution and support of Abhilash Hareendranathan and the Rheumatology Research Foundation Innovative Research Award.

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Correspondence to Jacob L. Jaremko.

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Quinn-Laurin, V., Thejeel, B., Chauvin, N.A. et al. Normal hip joint fluid volumes in healthy children of different ages, based on MRI volumetric quantitative measurement. Pediatr Radiol (2020).

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  • Children
  • Hip
  • Joint fluid
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Normal
  • Physiological