, Volume 120, Issue 5-6, pp 241-244

Evaluation of core decompression for early osteonecrosis of the femoral head

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Twenty-six hips (19 patients) with osteonecrosis of the femoral head with stage I or II of the disease, according to the Ficat and Arlet classification, underwent core decompression. Osteonecrosis was confirmed histologically in all 26 hips. Of 19 patients, 7 had prognostic factors traditionally associated with poor outcome including collagen vascular disease and continued use of steroids. The follow-up period averaged 7 years 10 months (range: 2 years 5 months–13 years 8 months) for 17 patients with 24 hips. Two patients died secondary to systemic illness. Seventeen hips (65.4%) had very good or good results using the Ficat criteria. Eight hips (30.8%) needed further operation [total hip arthroplasty (THA) for 7 hips, osteotomy for 1 hip]. Of the 12 hips in patients who had used steroids, 6 hips (50%) were converted to THA. Four hips in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) needed THA (100%). We conclude that core decompression provides an effective treatment for steroid-associated osteonecrosis other than in cases with SLE, as well as providing effective treatment for non-steroid-associated osteonecrosis in the early stages of the disease.

Received: 28 July 1999