Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in femoral head necrosis

J Arthroplasty. 2010 Sep;25(6 Suppl):118-23. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2010.05.005. Epub 2010 Jul 15.


We evaluated hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy on a cohort of patients with femoral head necrosis (FHN). This double-blind, randomized, controlled, prospective study included 20 patients with unilateral FHN. All were Ficat stage II, treated with either compressed oxygen (HBO) or compressed air (HBA). Each patient received 30 treatments of HBO or HBA for 6 weeks. Range of motion, stabilometry, and pain were assessed at the beginning of the study and after 10, 20, and 30 treatments by a blinded physician. After the initial 6-week treatment, the blind was broken; and all HBA patients were offered HBO treatment. At this point, the study becomes observational. Pretreatment, 12-month. and 7 year-follow-up magnetic resonance images were obtained. Statistical comparisons were obtained with nonparametric Mann-Whitney U test. Significant pain improvement for HBO was demonstrated after 20 treatments. Range of motion improved significantly during HBO for all parameters between 20 and 30 treatments. All patients remain substantially pain-free 7 years later: none required hip arthroplasty. Substantial radiographic healing of the osteonecrosis was observed in 7 of 9 hips. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy appears to be a viable treatment modality in patients with Ficat II FHN.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Femur Head / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur Head / pathology
  • Femur Head Necrosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur Head Necrosis / pathology*
  • Femur Head Necrosis / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen