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Is stem cell treatment effective for avascular necrosis of the hip joint?

Q: I am a 35 years old man having bilateral avascular necrosis (AVN) of the hip joint, which is idiopathic. What is the effectiveness of stem cell treatment coupled with core decompression for this disease?

A:Non-surgical treatment (crutches, medicines, physiotherapy, electrical stimulation etc.) has limited role as it provides only temporary symptomatic relief and doesn't affect the progression of the disease. Surgery is done either to slow down the progression (prophylactic) or reconstructive, following the collapse of the femoral head.

Core decompression is the most common procedure and it can be supplemented with bone grafting or biologic augmentation. Stem cell treatment is being done in several centres in the world but as yet there is no published report. This mode of therapy is not yet offered as standard medical treatment and currently only clinical research studies are being done. The work is still experimental and it is hoped that stem cells would retard deterioration and reverse the effect of the disease.

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