Treatment of avascular necrosis of the femoral head with vascularized fibular transplant

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2001 May;(386):120-30. doi: 10.1097/00003086-200105000-00016.


Two hundred twenty-eight hips in 187 patients with avascular necrosis of the femoral head were treated with vascularized fibular transplant from March 1989 to March 2000. The etiologic factors associated with the disease included corticosteroids in 84 patients (44%; 101 hips, trauma in 25 patients (13%; 29 hips), alcohol abuse in 24 patients (12%; 28 hips), and 41 hips (18%) were classified as idiopathic. Systemic disorders, including systemic lupus erythematosus, sickle cell anemia, inflammatory bowel disease, pregnancy, and dysbaric disease were observed in 12, nine, four, three, and one hip(s), respectively. Of the 228 hips operated on, 184 hips (152 patients) were assessed postoperatively with followup ranging from 1 to 10 years (mean, 4.7 years). Using the Steinberg classification system, 39 hips (21%) were in Stage II; 45 hips (25%) were in Stage II; 77 hips (42%) were in Stage IV; and 23 hips (12%) were in Stage V. Of the 184 hips treated, 101 (54%) remained stable postoperatively, whereas 69 (38%) had progression, and 14 hips (8%) were converted to total hip arthroplasty. Of the 69 hips that had progression, 44 (64%) did not progress until 6 to 10 years after the procedure, whereas 25 (36%) progressed within the first 5 years postoperatively. The best results were obtained in patients with Stage II osteonecrosis in whom 95% of the hips did not progress postoperatively. In contrast, only 39% of the hips in patients with Stage V osteonecrosis remained stable. Preoperative and postoperative clinical evaluation using the Harris hip score showed an increase from 85 to 96 points in hips with Stage II disease; from 74 to 91 points in hips with Stage III disease; from 69 to 85 points in hips with Stage IV disease; and from 61 to 76 in hips with Stage V disease. The current results show that the vascularized fibular graft is an excellent procedure for the precollapse stages and a valuable alternative for patients with Stages III, IV, and V of the disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / methods
  • Bone Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Bone Transplantation / methods*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Femur Head Necrosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Femur Head Necrosis / surgery*
  • Fibula / blood supply*
  • Fibula / transplantation*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Rejection
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Radiography
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome