Osteonecrosis of the femoral head: a prospective study with MRI

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1997 Mar;79(2):213-9. doi: 10.1302/0301-620x.79b2.7179.


We performed a prospective study using MRI to evaluate early necrosis of the femoral head in 48 patients receiving high-dose corticosteroids for the treatment of various autoimmune-related disorders. The mean interval from the initiation of corticosteroid therapy to the first MRI examination was 2 months (0.5 to 6). MRI was repeated, and the mean period of follow-up was 31 months (24 to 69). Abnormalities were found on MRI in 31 hips (32%). The initial changes showed well-demarcated, band-like zones which were seen at a mean of 3.6 months after initiation of treatment with steroids. In 14 of these hips (45%) there was a spontaneous reduction in the size of the lesions about one year after treatment had started, but there was no further change in size with a longer follow-up.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Femur Head / pathology
  • Femur Head Necrosis / chemically induced
  • Femur Head Necrosis / diagnosis*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones