Hip avascular necrosis is not uncommon, with numerous patients seeking treatment each year. It is also known as osteonecrosis or aseptic necrosis. It is a significant cause for concern regarding the health of the hip, its structure and stability but can be effectively treated.
What is Hip Avascular Necrosis?
The blood supply to the bone in the hip is interrupted and may cause the ball of the hip to lose its normal shape. This may occur after trauma, due to inherited conditions such as sickle cell anaemia, as a consequence of taking certain medications like steroids or drinking alcohol. In many cases, there is no obvious cause.
What are the symptoms of Hip Avascular Necrosis?
Early-stage avascular necrosis may cause no symptoms as the bone structure remains intact. However, as the condition progresses symptoms may come on slowly with increasing severity. This may result in pain across the groin, buttock, thigh or knee. Eventually, arthritis can develop causing the hip to stiffen up and loss of mobility.
How is Hip Avascular Necrosis diagnosed?
A thorough medical exam and history are required, including discussions of injuries, sports, family history, medications and even alcohol consumption. Following this, some tests may be ordered which might include X-rays and an MRI scan. This normally provides sufficient information to diagnose the condition once it symptomatically presents.
How is Hip Avascular Necrosis treated?
In the early stages, measures such as taking anti-inflammatories, perhaps losing some weight and keeping the muscles around the hip strong through exercises and cycling can be helpful. If non-operative measures do not work, you may be offered surgery to decompress the hip or replace the joint with a hip replacement.
What is the outlook following treatment for Hip Avascular Necrosis?
Avascular necrosis can appear in many bones, when it presents in the hips it is important to treat it early to maintain the health of the bones and your mobility. With appropriate treatment early in the course of the illness, the hip joint can often be healed. Later in the illness, a hip replacement is a very effective treatment option to restore healthy movement and activity. Your consultant can guide you through the process and outline what measures can be taken to support your return to health.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or is experiencing pain in their hip or difficulty with mobility and would like a consultant-led review, please contact us. Grosvenor Orthopaedics have extensive experience in the treatment of hip avascular necrosis with excellent patient outcomes.