Avascular Necrosis (AVN) of the hip is the most common presentation of AVN. Avascular necrosis (AVN) also referred to as osteonecrosis occurs when the blood flow to a region of bone is disrupted leading to ischemia or bone cell death (necrosis). Stem cells have been used as therapeutic options in various forms of treatment. The hip may develop AVN on one side, or be present in both hips referred to as bilateral.
The most frequent cause of AVN is trauma. Famous athletes such as Bo Jackson have had their sports career derailed as the result of AVN. This is why alternative treatment measures to help repair or regenerate the bone have spawned interest in stem cells and Regenerative Medicine.
Other than trauma an unknown origin of avascular necrosis is referred to as idiopathic. Following this certain disease states and results of medical treatment can induce or are associated with increased risk of developing AVN. This includes excessive corticosteroids (cortisone), excessive alcohol consumption, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, sickle cell disease, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and decompression sickness.
AVN may occur in the hip and another joint such as the knee or involve multiple joints. This is typically the result of systemic disease or treatment.
If the hip is severely involved, a rapid joint collapse may occur leading to recommendations for hip replacement surgery. Alternative strategies utilizing the reparative and regenerative capacity of stem cells have involved surgical micro-fracture or core decompression, injections involving stem cell concentrates, growth factors have been explored to avoid hip replacement surgery.