Core decompression for avascular necrosis of the femoral head: correlation between long-term results and preoperative MR staging

Radiology. 1990 May;175(2):533-6. doi: 10.1148/radiology.175.2.2326478.


A long-term radiographic follow-up study was conducted on 24 patients (34 hips) who underwent core decompression of the femoral head for avascular necrosis (AVN). The purpose of the study was to assess the potential correlation between the extent of AVN, as determined with preoperative magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and development of collapse. The preoperative MR results were classified into four categories: group A, no AVN; group B, less than 25% involvement of the weight-bearing portion of the femoral head; group C, 25%-50% involvement; and group D, more than 50% involvement. Histologic evidence of AVN was found in all 34 hips. Collapse occurred in none of the hips in groups A and B (n = 12), in three of seven hips (43%) in group C, and in 13 of 15 hips (87%) in group D. It is concluded that MR estimation of the extent of femoral head involvement with AVN may help in predicting which femoral heads will collapse shortly after core decompression, so that this invasive procedure can be avoided in patients at risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Femur Head / pathology
  • Femur Head Necrosis / diagnosis
  • Femur Head Necrosis / pathology*
  • Femur Head Necrosis / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged