Arthritis Q&A by Dr. Shiel

I am a 69-year-old female diagnosed with avascular necrosis of the hip. How is this condition treated?

Answer:

The treatment of aseptic necrosis is critically dependent on the stage of the condition. Avascular necrosis is caused by a loss of the blood supply to the part of the femur (the upper leg bone) that forms part of the hip joint. Early aseptic necrosis (before x-ray changes are evident) can be treated with a surgical operation called a core decompression. This operation involves removing a core of bone from the involved area and sometimes grafting new bone into the area. This allows new blood vessels to form and creates a new blood supply to the bone. Weight-bearing or impact to the involved joint usually is restricted to prevent additional injury to the bone.

Later stages of aseptic necrosis (when x-ray changes have occurred) typically lead to seriously damaged bone and joints, requiring surgical replacement of the hip joint.

Thank you for your question.


Last Editorial Review: 2/26/2007



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