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Shockwaves vs. Decompression and Grafting for Femoral Head Osteonecrosis

Shockwaves vs. Decompression and Grafting for Femoral Head Osteonecrosis

Title: Treatment for osteonecrosis of the femoral head: comparison of extracorporeal shock waves with core decompression and bone-grafting

Authors: Ching-Jen Wang, Feng-Sheng Wang, Chung-Cheng Huang, Kuender D Yang, Lin-Hsiu Weng, Hsuan-Ying Huang

Osteonecrosis of the femoral head, a condition causing pain and deterioration of the hip joint, poses challenges in determining the most effective treatment. This study compared the outcomes of noninvasive treatment using extracorporeal shock waves with those of surgical intervention involving core decompression and nonvascularized fibular grafting. The study included patients with early-stage osteonecrosis who were randomly assigned to either the shockwave therapy group (23 patients) or the surgical group (25 patients). After treatment, the shockwave group showed significant improvements in pain and hip scores compared to their pre-treatment condition. About 79% of the hips in the shockwave group demonstrated improvement, while only 29% of the hips treated with surgery and grafting showed improvement. Imaging studies revealed regression of some lesions in the shockwave group, indicating positive changes in the affected area. The results suggest that extracorporeal shockwave treatment may be more effective than surgery for early-stage osteonecrosis of the femoral head. However, further long-term studies are required to determine the durability and lasting effects of this innovative treatment approach. This research highlights the potential benefits of shockwave therapy in managing osteonecrosis and offers an alternative to surgical interventions, providing hope for patients with this condition.

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