Evaluation of a pig femoral head osteonecrosis model

Ping Zhang, Yun Liang, Harry Kim, Hiroki Yokota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: A major cause of osteonecrosis of the femoral head is interruption of a blood supply to the proximal femur. In order to evaluate blood circulation and pathogenetic alterations, a pig femoral head osteonecrosis model was examined to address whether ligature of the femoral neck (vasculature deprivation) induces a reduction of blood circulation in the femoral head, and whether transphyseal vessels exist for communications between the epiphysis and the metaphysis. We also tested the hypothesis that the vessels surrounding the femoral neck and the ligamentum teres represent the primary source of blood flow to the femoral head.Methods: Avascular osteonecrosis of the femoral head was induced in Yorkshire pigs by transecting the ligamentum teres and placing two ligatures around the femoral neck. After heparinized saline infusion and microfil perfusion via the abdominal aorta, blood circulation in the femoral head was evaluated by optical and CT imaging.Results: An angiogram of the microfil casted sample allowed identification of the major blood vessels to the proximal femur including the iliac, common femoral, superficial femoral, deep femoral and circumflex arteries. Optical imaging in the femoral neck showed that a microfil stained vessel network was visible in control sections but less noticeable in necrotic sections. CT images showed a lack of microfil staining in the epiphysis. Furthermore, no transphyseal vessels were observed to link the epiphysis to the metaphysis.Conclusion: Optical and CT imaging analyses revealed that in this present pig model the ligatures around the femoral neck were the primary cause of induction of avascular osteonecrosis. Since the vessels surrounding the femoral neck are comprised of the branches of the medial and the lateral femoral circumflex vessels, together with the extracapsular arterial ring and the lateral epiphyseal arteries, augmentation of blood circulation in those arteries will improve pathogenetic alterations in the necrotic femoral head. Our pig model can be used for further femoral head osteonecrosis studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 6 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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