What Is the Treatment for Avascular Necrosis?

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Ask the experts

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

Doctor's response

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.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"Osteonecrosis (avascular necrosis of bone)"

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Reviewed on 8/30/2017