Early prediction of femoral head avascular necrosis following neck fracture.

Ehlinger M, Moser T, Adam P, Bierry G, Gangi A, de Mathelin M, Bonnomet F.
Early prediction of femoral head avascular necrosis following neck fracture.
Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2011 Feb;97(1):79-88.


Femoral neck fracture puts at risk functional prognosis in young patients and can be life-threatening in the elderly. The present study reviews methods of femoral head vascularity assessment following neck fracture, to address the following issues: what is the risk of osteonecrosis? And what, in the light of this risk, is the best-adapted treatment to avoid iterative surgery? Femoral head vascularity depends on retinacular vessels and especially the lateral epiphyseal artery, which contributes from 70 to 80% of the femoral head vascular supply. Fracture causes vascular lesions, which are in turn the prime cause of necrosis. Other factors combine with this: hematoma tamponade effect, reduced joint space and increased pressure due to lower extremity positioning in extension/internal rotation/abduction during surgery. Head deformity is not due to direct cell death but to the repair process originating from the surrounding living bone. In post-traumatic necrosis, proliferation rapidly invades the head, with significant osteogenesis. Pathologic fractures occur at the boundary between the new and dead bone. Many techniques have been reported to help assess residual hemodynamics and risk of necrosis. Some are invasive: superselective angiography, intra-osseous oxygen pressure measurement, or Doppler-laser hemodynamic measurement; others involve imaging: scintigraphy, conventionnal or dynamic MRI. The future seems to lie with dynamic MRI, which allows a new classification of femoral neck fractures, based on a non-invasive assessment of femoral head vascularity .

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