Avascular Necrosis AVN or Osteonecrosis Treatment with Stem Cells
Avascular Necrosis (AVN) also referred to as osteonecrosis can be a significantly debilitating condition. New treatment strategies with stem cell treatment have been utilized to treat avascular necrosis. Avascular necrosis (AVN) is most frequently seen in the hip. The large thigh bone known as the femur is most often affected with AVN at the top or femoral head. A frequent treatment option has been total hip replacement.
Trauma is the leading cause, however in the middle age group it may result from other other causes or be of unknown origin (idiopathic). If the femoral head collapses as the result of the region of AVN degeneration, it may lead to rapid escalation of hip joint degeneration. It is estimated that 5-8 % of the roughly 500,000 total hip replacements performed in the United States annually are the result of AVN.
The desire for alternatives to hip replacement, has placed stem cell therapy as a focal point of interest. The ability to treat without the potential for complications of a major hip surgery are desirous. Stem cell treatment for AVN or osteonecrosis is performed by injecting the patient’s own stem cells into the hip. Case studies from various regions of the globe have reported success. Indeed, a surgical option that does involve extensive recovery is microfracture (drilling into the bone). This releases stem cells from the bone marrow into the area of osteonecrosis or AVN. However, many studies have shown with aging the supply of bone marrow stem cells declines. Adipose (fat) stem cell levels remain more consistent with aging. If the area of AVN does not collapse and the hip joint can be get from degenerating hip replacement may be avoided. The potential for stem cell therapy in select cases of AVN to be used as an alternative to hip replacement is a viable option given the irreversibility of hip joint replacement.