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Avascular Necrosis (AVN), sometimes known as osteonecrosis, can be a very painful hip condition. It mostly affects people between the ages of 30-50 years. Risk factors include steroid use and significant previous injury (such as dislocation).

It occurs due to disruption in the blood supply to femoral head bone. This causes the bone to die and can result in significant discomfort and breakdown or collapse of the bone in the femoral head and progression to osteoarthritis.

Radiographs (x-rays) can show features of AVN. An MRI scan may be needed to confirm the diagnosis in the early stages.


The treatment options include doing nothing for the time being, pain relief, activity modification, and surgery.

Surgical procedures for Avascular Necrosis include core-decompression (it is believed, to release the pressure within the bone and help blood-flow improve). In significant disease, total hip replacement may be required to treat severe pain and / or degenerative changes. 

Core decompression is a procedure that is done under anaesthetic. It involves drilling a hole in the bone and may be effective when AVN is identified and treated early.