• Science Saturday: Identifying best candidates with avascular necrosis for regenerative alternative to hip replacement

a medical illustration of hip decompression surgery for avascular hip necrosis

A regenerative alternative to total hip replacement delayed the need for artificial implants by at least seven years for 35% of patients who had surgery to treat avascular necrosis. That condition occurs when blood flow to the hip joint known as the femoral head is constricted, causing bone cells to die. This Mayo Clinic research, which is published in Bone & Joint Open, also discovered that the size of the necrotic lesion and continued corticosteroid therapy affect the long-term viability of hip decompression surgery to relieve avascular necrosis of the hip.

Avascular necrosis is also a rare side effect of heavy steroid use as part of some chemotherapy treatment. Left untreated, tiny fractures from avascular necrosis worsen, and sometimes the joint collapses. Without hip decompression surgery, 90% of people with avascular necrosis need a total hip replacement.

"Saving a hip even for seven years is important because it delays the need of total hip replacement," says Rafael Sierra, M.D., a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon and senior author of the study. "Many patients with avascular necrosis are younger than 50. By delaying or providing an alternative to total hip replacement, we may be able to prevent the need for a second or third hip replacement over the course of their lifetimes."

Read the rest of the article on the Center for Regenerative Medicine blog.


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