Figure 1. Radiograph showing bilateral flattening & collapse of the femoral head, consistent with late-stage, AVN Avascular necrosis (AVN) of the femoral head
Avascular necrosis (AVN) of the femoral head
is a devastating joint disease that is newly
diagnosed in 20,000 Americans each year at an
average age of 38.
The disease is characterized by decreased blood flow to the femoral head, which can lead to collapse of the femoral head
and subsequent degenerative changes.
Collapse of the femoral head is typically accompanied by severe pain, and the disease course rarely regresses
Risk factors for AVN
Although the pathophysiology of AVN is not yet well-understood, it is thought to be a multifactorial disease, with patients reporting a history of exposure to one or more risk factors, including trauma to the hip, alcohol abuse, corticosteroid use, hemoglobinopathies, pregnancy, coagulopathies, organ transplant, chemotherapy, caisson disease, HIV and auto immune conditions.
Rafael J. Sierra, M.D. Orthopedic Surgeon
Some assert that the disease results from
a clotting disorder or genetic abnormality that
leads to vascular compromise, while others
hypothesize that increased intramedullary
pressure in the femoral head leads to decreased
blood flow and cell death via a mechanism
similar to compartment syndrome following a
A new approach to treatment
Learn about a new approach to treatment and
details about the study's findings from principal in-