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Core Hip Decompression Treatment for Avascular Necrosis

dr andrew dutton core hip decompression treatment for avascular necrosis
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Among the body’s joints, the hips are the strongest. This is because the body’s largest muscles and ligaments surround the pelvic area, allowing the body to bear weight, stand, walk, and run.

The hips, however, are also susceptible to damage. For example, an injury, bone fracture, or damage to blood vessels can cut off the joint’s blood supply, leading to avascular necrosis (AVN).

This blog tackles some critical information about AVN and how core hip decompression can help prevent bone death and collapse.

What is avascular necrosis (AVN)?

In avascular necrosis (AVN), bones die because their blood supply is interrupted. As a result, bone structures disintegrate, causing pain, loss of joint function, and chronic joint damage. Concurrently, the long-term use of corticosteroids, certain chronic health conditions, and heavy alcohol intake can also heighten the risk of AVN.

The condition is more common among people who have had bone surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments, as well as those with pancreatitis, Diver’s disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and autoimmune diseases.

It is challenging to detect AVN early since several conditions can cause hip pain. But, left untreated, it can lead to bone death. Fortunately, core hip decompression helps restore blood supply and prevents further damage.

What is core hip decompression?

There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for avascular necrosis. Instead, the treatment will depend on your age, general health, symptoms and severity of the condition. Simply put, the treatment aims to improve your ability to use the joint and prevent further damage to the bone and joint.

The treatment plan for AVN may include prescription medicines, assistive devices, therapy, and surgical procedures. Surgery may be an appropriate treatment option for patients with AVN, depending on the extent of bone damage. For instance, core hip decompression is a surgical procedure designed to improve blood circulation to the affected bone. However, it is only indicated in the early stages of avascular necrosis.

How is core hip decompression done?

Since core hip compression is an invasive surgery, the patient will receive spinal or general anaesthesia so they won’t feel any pain or discomfort.

In the procedure, the surgeon uses live X-ray imaging or fluoroscopy as they drill a hole into the hip. This creates channels so vessels can deliver blood to the affected area. Next, a guidewire is inserted through the incision to reach the femoral head. Finally, the surgeon will remove dead bone fragments to relieve pressure. As a result, the procedure stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and nourishes the existing bone.

Along with core decompression, the surgeon may also perform cell therapy, which involves the collection of bone marrow or mesenchymal cells from the pelvis. Stem cell therapy has shown promise in utilising the body’s natural healing mechanism to treat many conditions. For example, stem cells have contributed to halting AVN in young patients, thereby saving them from undergoing hip replacements.

How long does it take to recover from core decompression of the hip?

As a result of a successful core decompression, the bone heals and regains its blood supply. However, it may take a few months for the bones to rebuild. You will need crutches or walkers for 6 to 12 weeks to prevent weight bearing at the hip joint. This might demand time off from work and other physical tasks.

It may also take about three months for you to walk again. Your surgeon will monitor your recovering hip through X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Furthermore, they will refer you to a physical therapist to improve your range of motion, relieve pain, and decrease swelling. Remember, the way to a fast recovery is to follow post-surgical instructions.

When should you call a doctor after surgery?

There are accompanying risks like any other surgical procedure involving the bones, muscles, and tendons. The common complications after surgery may include bleeding and infection. Therefore, it is crucial to spot the signs and symptoms like fever, redness, delayed healing, severe pain, tenderness, warmth, and swelling to seek immediate medical attention.

How do you speed up recovery after core hip decompression?

Though it may take months to fully recover from the surgery, you can take steps to speed up bone healing. First, it’s important to avoid activities that put a lot of stress on the joints. These include running, jumping, and engaging in contact sports. If you’re not sure if an activity is safe for you to do, ask your surgeon.

Adhere to your exercise regimen, as instructed by the physical therapist. If your joints hurt, take a rest and don’t push yourself too hard. Apart from these, maintain your health from the inside – consume a well-balanced diet rich in calcium, vitamins, and proteins.

Giving a new life to dead bones

It’s hard to imagine that your bones may die due to a lack of blood supply, and you’ll be unable to perform your daily activities. Moreover, even movements as simple as walking and running will be challenging and taxing.

The risk of bone collapse becomes higher as avascular necrosis worsens. Hence, timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial to preventing bone death. Thankfully, core hip decompression with stem cell therapy helps restore circulation to the femoral head, providing a new life.

We hope the crucial points we shared in this blog can help you understand more about AVN and its treatment. Though factual and vetted by a doctor, the information we provide should never replace a medical consultation. If you wish to learn more about AVN and core hip decompression, you can book a consultation with Dr Andrew Dutton at (+65) 6836 8000.

Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton Orthopaedic & Sports Clinic Insurance


The Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton Orthopaedic & Sports Clinic offers minimally invasive and surgical treatments for sports-related injuries and orthopaedic conditions.

To aid in the expenses that you may incur, we accept a number of corporate and international insurance. If you have any of the insurance plans below, please let us know when you book an appointment with us. If you need further assistance, you may drop us an e-mail at info@eliteortho.com.sg or call us at (+65) 6836 8000.

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About Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton

A/Professor Dutton, also known as, has been in clinical practice since 1996 after graduating from Marist College, Canberra and the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. A/Professor Dutton has worked at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, and the St. George Hospital, Sydney, before completing his orthopaedic surgery training in Singapore. He is currently an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

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