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Is hip replacement the only solution to avascular necrosis of the hip?

Marc Richard, MD
Hand Surgery
Avascular necrosis (AVN) of the hip is a debilitating condition resulting from insufficient blood flow to the joint’s femoral head (the “ball” part of the “ball and socket”) that causes the bone to die. For some, there may be surgical treatment options besides hip replacement, including vascularized fibular graft (FVFG).
In this specialized procedure, the dead bone is replaced with a small section of the patient’s healthy fibula, a lower-leg bone not used in walking. When the implanted bone is connected to nearby blood vessels, the femoral head is literally brought back to life.
In many cases, FVFG can restore normal function, but time is critical. The sooner a patient with AVN can see an orthopaedic specialist, the better his or her outcome is likely to be. The procedure can be an especially good option for the 20- to 35-year-olds typically affected by AVN of the hip; these patients usually want to avoid hip-replacement surgery because it will likely have to be revised several times throughout their lives.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.