We investigated the role of conventional radiographs and computed tomography scans for the routine followup of total hip arthroplasty patients. Among 92 total hip arthroplasties with a mean followup of 8.5 years, 94 acetabular lesions were detected among 63 hips using computed tomography and 42 of these hips had osteolysis diagnosed on radiograph. Using computed tomography as a gold standard, the sensitivity of anteroposterior pelvic radiographs for the detection of acetabular osteolysis was 67% and the specificity was 72%. Although smaller lesions were more frequently missed, osteolysis was diagnosed on radiograph in 20 of 22 total hip arthroplasties with lesion volumes of at least 10 mL. Because larger osteolytic lesions were generally detected on radiograph, two-dimensional and three-dimensional lesion sizes correlated. However, the limits of agreement for the volume estimates based on the radiograph area were -14.6 to 18.7 mL. Although radiographs can be useful to screen for clinically important pelvic osteolysis, computed tomography images are necessary to accurately measure lesion volumes.
Level of Evidence: Level III, diagnostic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.