Osteonecrosis is another way of saying “bone death”. Osteonecrosis of the hip occurs when the blood supply to the top of the femur (hip bone) is interrupted. This can be the result of trauma or a non-traumatic process.
The causes of the non-traumatic type of osteonecrosis are not known; however, it is known that people who abuse alcohol, have autoimmune diseases, or have a previous hip or femoral neck fracture are at higher risk.
Several types of surgeries are used to treat osteonecrosis of the hip, and opinions vary concerning which surgery is most beneficial. When treated early, the existing bone can sometimes be spared. However, if the disease progresses, the femur collapses and replacement of the femoral head with an artificial prosthesis (partial or total hip replacement) becomes necessary.
It is important to consult your doctor if you experience a consistent dull, aching, or throbbing pain in your hip.