Necrosis of Hip

Physical therapist helps patient use resistance band


What is Necrosis of the Hip?

Necrosis of the hip is also called Hip Osteonecrosis, Avascular Necrosis (AVN), or Aseptic Necrosis, and it can affect one or both hips. AVN is caused when the blood supply to the femur’s head (the ball portion of the ball-and-socket hip joint) is reduced or completely stops. Because AVN decreases the oxygen and nutrients the bone needs, the bone cells are damaged and die. As a result, the bone may weaken and collapse, affecting the surrounding bone.  

Once the bone’s stability is lost, the entire area can shift, break, collapse, and lose the original shape of the structure. When the femoral head or joint has lost its original form, the joint does not fit together correctly. The mismatch in joint shape leads to pain, irritation of the joint, loss of motion and function, and eventually joint degeneration or arthritis. 

AVN affects more than 20,000 people each year. It can develop in anyone, but it is most common in people ages 30 to 65, and it affects more men than women.  

Although no one knows precisely what causes AVN, alcoholism and steroid use are often associated with it. Other risk factors include:  

  • Lupus 
  • Smoking 
  • Fatty deposits in the blood vessels 
  • Diabetes 
  • Cancer treatments involving radiation 
  • Trauma such as a broken or
    dislocated hip 
  • Some genetic disorders 
  • Sickle cell 
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Gaucher’s disease 
  • Kidney transplant (or transplantation of other organs) 
  • Environments that expose the person to extreme barometric pressures 
AVN affects more than 20,000 people each year.


Necrosis of the Hip Symptoms

AVN symptoms may come on slowly but are likely to increase if left untreated. Symptoms include: 

  • Limping  
  • Hip pain 
  • Difficulty walking 
  • Difficulty standing 
  • Pain in the groin, thigh, or buttock  


Necrosis of the Hip Diagnosis 

An AVN diagnosis begins with an examination. Imaging such as X-rays and MRIs may also be used. X-rays may not show AVN during the early stages, but AVN will show up in MRIs even in the early stages.  


Treatments for Necrosis of the Hip 

Caught early, crutches and anti-inflammatory medications may be helpful. But AVN can progress quickly, so if not found early enough, more extreme treatments such as surgery may be necessary. If the cartilage has already collapsed, total hip replacement surgery is often required to restore function and alleviate pain from the AVN.  


Patient Testimonials

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doctors talking in a hall
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Dr. Bengs took the time to sit down and explain every step of the way with both my husband and me. I was so impressed that I saw him before surgery and then in my room afterward, and that he had also personally reviewed the surgery with my husband afterward. Dr. Bengs and his staff are so professional, patient-centered… Looking forward to trotting around all over with my new, pain-free left knee!

Roxanne B of Granada Hills said of Dr. Bengs

Dr. Bengs performed a total hip replacement to my left hip. It was not a routine procedure due to an infection to the hip that required 8 weeks of antibiotics. Following the hip replacement, I was forced to undergo a knee replacement also by Dr. Bengs. I am a physician and know how difficult these surgeries were. Due to His expertise, I am walking and exercising. He is not only a great surgeon but a great man.

Frank B of Sherman Oaks said of Dr. Bengs
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doctors talking in a hall