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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2001 May;(386):42-53.

Magnetic resonance imaging and histology of repair in femoral head osteonecrosis.

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1
Bone & Biomaterials Research, Institute for Histology & Embryology, University of Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

Different repair processes affect the clinical course of nontraumatic avascular femoral head osteonecrosis, not just necrotic lesion size and location. Fourteen femoral heads were retrieved at total hip arthroplasty after core decompression treatment, or after conservative treatment was done on 13 male patients diagnosed with different stages of femoral head osteonecrosis. To determine repair types, features of coronal magnetic resonance images were correlated with light microscopy findings on corresponding coronal undecalcified sections and microradiographs of the retrieved femoral heads. In five femoral heads, repair of necrotic bone and marrow remained restricted to the reactive interface for as many as 63 months, producing the diagnostic osteosclerotic rim with adjacent hypervascularity (limited repair). Nine femoral heads showed extension of the repair process into the necrosis. In five femoral heads, predominant resorption of necrotic bone led to femoral head breakdown within 2 to 50 months (destructive repair). In four femoral heads, reparative bone formation had started from subchondral fractures and/or the reactive interface, definitely reducing the size of the necrotic area (reconstructive repair). In the latter, the disease progressed slowly or stopped for as many as 45 months, irrespective of treatments, but elimination of risk factors seemed beneficial. Although core decompression did not always reach the necrotic area and improve repair, it reduced accompanying bone marrow edema and could delay the disease progress. Osteonecrosis with limited repair can be identified on magnetic resonance images obtained at followup, but the similar signal changes of destructive and reconstructive repair cannot be distinguished on magnetic resonance images alone. The evidence of reconstructive repair in nontraumatic osteonecrosis, however, gives hope for treatments that can improve repair to a sufficient creeping substitution of the affected femoral head.

PMID:
11347847
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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