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Can stem cells be used to treat avascular necrosis?

Q: I am a 36 years old man who was diagnosed with idiopathic avascular necrosis of both the hip joints two and a half years back. I underwent stem cell treatment in a premier hospital in Delhi, in which cells were extracted from bone in the morning, they were cultured in the lab (for 3-4 hours) and then they were implanted in affected bone on same day in the afternoon. Recently, I came across articles, which mention that in some cases like mine, cells were cultured for few days and they gave good results. Is stem cell treatment effective in treating avascular necrosis? The current status of my problem is that the disease is progressing in both the hips, though the rate of progression in the left hip is less than that of the right hip. The right hip may have to be replaced soon. Please advise.

A:Idiopathic avascular necrosis of the head of femur is is a disease where there is cellular death (necrosis) of bone components due to interruption of the blood supply. Many risk factors are known, however, if no cause is found it is termed as idiopathic. The correct treatment for this usually is total hip replacement. Some doctors prescribe bisphosphonates.

The role of stem cells is totally experimental. While a few studies have shown some beneficial effect, others have denied it. As on date, stem cell culture and subsequent injection into the joint area is absolutely experimental, and at best can only be compared to a placebo!


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