a00216f05Avascular necrosis (AVN, also known as osteonecrosis) of the femoral head occurs when the cells of the trabecular bone spontaneously die, leading to fracture. Depending on the amount of femoral head involved, collapse of the articular surface will occur as the disease advances.   Avascular necrosis (AVN) of the femoral head is a progressive disease that mostly affects younger patients. Once collapse of the femoral head occurs in patients, severe pain follows, and the disease course rarely regresses.  Although the precise pathophysiology of AVN has been poorly explained, the disease is characterized by a vascular insult to the blood supply of the femoral head, which can lead to collapse of the femoral head and subsequent degenerative changes. If AVN is diagnosed in the early stages of the disease, it may be possible to attempt surgical procedures which preserve the hip joint, including decompression of the femoral head augmented with concentrated bone marrow. . The primary therapeutic approach by which these patients experience pain relief is total hip arthroplasty (THA). The use of autologous stem cells has shown promise in halting the progression of AVN of the femoral head, and thus avoiding total hip arthroplasty.

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