Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

, Volume 128, Issue 9, pp 901–908 | Cite as

Treatment of osteonecrosis of the hip: comparison of extracorporeal shockwave with shockwave and alendronate

  • Ching-Jen WangEmail author
  • Feng-Sheng Wang
  • Kuender D. Yang
  • Chung-Cheng Huang
  • Mel Shiuann-Sheng Lee
  • Yi-Sheng Chan
  • Jun-Wen Wang
  • Jih-Yang Ko
Orthopaedic Surgery


Background and purpose

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) and alendronate are reported effective in early osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH). We hypothesized that joint effects of ESWT and alendronate may produce superior results. This prospective study compared the results of ESWT and alendronate with that of ESWT without alendronate in early ONFH.

Patients and methods

Forty-eight patients with 60 hips were randomly divided into tow groups. There were 25 patients with 30 hips in group A and 23 patients with 30 hips in group B. Both groups showed similar demographic characteristics. All patients were treated with 6,000 impulses of ESWT at 28 KV (equivalent to 0.62 mJ/mm²) to the affected hip as a single session. Patients in group B also received alendronate 70 mg per week for 1 year, whereas patients in group A did not. The evaluations included clinical assessment, radiograph and MR image of the affected hip. Both groups were compared statistically using paired t, Mann–Whitney and Chi square tests with statistical significance at P < 0.05. The primary end point is the need for total hip arthroplasty (THA). The secondary end point is the improvement in pain and function of the hip. The third end point is the progression or regression of the lesion on image study.


The overall clinical outcomes were improved in 83%, unchanged in 7% and worsened in 10% for group A; and improved in 77%, unchanged in 13% and worsened in 10% for group B. THA was performed in 10% of group A and 10% of group B (P = 1.000). Significant improvements in pain and function of the hip were noted in both groups (P < 0.001), however, the differences between the two groups were not significant (P = 0.400, 0.313). On MR images, the lesions showed progression in 10%, regression in 47% and unchanged in 43% in group A, and progression in 7%, regression in 53% and unchanged in 40% in group B (P = 0.830).


ESWT and alendronate produced comparable result as compared with ESWT without alendronate in early ONFH. It appears that ESWT is effective with or without the concurrent use of alendronate. The joint effects of alendronate over ESWT in early ONFH are not realized in short-term.


Extracorporeal shockwave Alendronate Osteonecrosis Femoral head 



Funds were received in total or partial support for the research or clinical study presented in this article. The funding sources were from Chang Gung Research Fund (CMRPG8010), National Science Council (94-2314-B-182A-047-) and National Health Research Institute (NHRI-EX96-9423EP). No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article. The authors would like to thank Ms. Ya-Ju Yang for the assistance in data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ching-Jen Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Feng-Sheng Wang
    • 2
  • Kuender D. Yang
    • 2
  • Chung-Cheng Huang
    • 3
  • Mel Shiuann-Sheng Lee
    • 1
  • Yi-Sheng Chan
    • 1
  • Jun-Wen Wang
    • 1
  • Jih-Yang Ko
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Kaohsiung Medical CenterChang Gung University School of MedicineKaohsiungTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Medical Research, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Kaohsiung Medical CenterChang Gung University School of MedicineKaohsiungTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Kaohsiung Medical CenterChang Gung University School of MedicineKaohsiungTaiwan

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