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Degenerative Changes in the Ligamentum Teres of the Hip: Cadaveric Study With Magnetic Resonance Arthrography, Anatomical Inspection, and Histologic Examination

Sampatchalit, Sudsriluk MD*; Barbosa, Diogo MD*; Gentili, Amilcare MD*; Haghighi, Parviz MD; Trudell, Debra RA*; Resnick, Donald MD*

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: November-December 2009 - Volume 33 - Issue 6 - p 927-933
doi: 10.1097/RCT.0b013e318199d89e
Musculoskeletal Imaging

Objective: Review and classify the pathologic abnormalities of the ligamentum teres in degenerative hip joints.

Material and Methods: Eleven cadaveric hip joints were examined with magnetic resonance arthrography and were then sectioned. The appearance of the ligamentum teres and its attachment seen by inspection of the anatomical sections was correlated with findings seen at magnetic resonance imaging. Histologic evaluation was done.

Results: Magnetic resonance arthrographic and histologic findings showed a spectrum of ligamentum teres degeneration. The thickest ligamentum teres revealed mucoid and fibromatous degeneration with microscopic tear. Ligamentum teres with intermediate thickness revealed fatty replacement with and without fibromatous degeneration, fibromatous degeneration with and without mucoid degeneration, and eosinophilic change. The thinnest ligamentum teres was near-complete disruption of the ligament.

Conclusions: The ligamentum teres revealed degenerative changes that were similar histologically to degenerative changes in tendons. Magnetic resonance arthrography provided a sensitive technique for demonstration of the ligamentum teres and various patterns of degeneration.

From the Departments of *Radiology and †Pathology, VA Medical Center, San Diego, CA.

Received for publication October 9, 2008; accepted December 22, 2008.

Reprints: Sudsriluk Sampatchalit, MD, 8673 Via Mallorca, Apartment unit 57, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037 (e-mail:,

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.