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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 75-B, Issue 2 | Pages 210 - 216
1 Mar 1993
Hofmann S Engel A Neuhold A Leder K Kramer J Plenk H

Bone-marrow oedema syndrome (BMOS) of the hip gives a characteristic MRI pattern, in association with severe pain, non-specific focal loss of radiological density and a positive bone scan. In our MRI-controlled study, nine patients with non-traumatic BMOS in ten hips all had core decompression. Bone-marrow pressure measurements and intraosseous venography in five cases showed pathological values. All patients had immediate relief of pain, with return of MRI signals to normal after three months. Regular review was continued for at least 24 months with serial clinical radiological and MRI assessment. At a mean follow-up of 33 months all patients remained free of pain with normal radiographs and MR scans. The histological evaluation of undecalcified sections obtained from eight core decompressions confirmed the presence of bone-marrow oedema, with necrotic and reparative processes involving bone and marrow similar to those of early avascular necrosis but with no evidence of 'osteoporosis'. These findings support the assumption that BMOS may be the initial phase of non-traumatic avascular necrosis. In most patients BMOS will have a self-limiting course, but the duration of symptoms may be reduced by core decompression treatment.