Minimally Invasive Necrotic Bone Washing Improves Bone Healing after Femoral Head Ischemic Osteonecrosis: An Experimental Investigation in Immature Pigs

Harry K.W. Kim, Min Sung Park, Felipe Alves Do Monte, Vishal Gokani, Olumide O. Aruwajoye, Yinshi Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background:Ischemic osteonecrosis of the femoral head produces necrotic cell debris and inflammatory molecules in the marrow space, which elicit a chronic inflammatory repair response. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of flushing out the necrotic cell debris and inflammatory proteins on bone repair in a piglet model of ischemic osteonecrosis.Methods:Osteonecrosis of the femoral head of the right hindlimb was induced in 12 piglets by tying a ligature tightly around the femoral neck. One week after the surgery, 6 animals were treated with a percutaneous 3-needle bone washing procedure and non-weight-bearing (NWB) of the right hindlimb (wash group). The total saline solution wash volume was 450 mL per femoral head. Serial wash solutions were collected and analyzed. The remaining 6 animals were treated with NWB only (NWB group). At 8 weeks after the surgery, the femoral heads were assessed using radiography, micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), and histological analysis. In addition, we compared the results for these piglets with our published results for 6 piglets treated with multiple epiphyseal drilling (MED) plus NWB without bone washing (MED group).Results:Necrotic cells and inflammatory proteins were present in the bone wash solution collected 1 week after ischemia induction. The protein and triglyceride concentrations decreased significantly with subsequent washing (p < 0.005). At 8 weeks after ischemia induction, the wash group had a significantly higher bone volume than the MED or NWB group (p < 0.0001). Histological bone-formation measures were also significantly increased in the wash group compared with the MED group (p = 0.002) or NWB group (p < 0.0001) while macrophage numbers were significantly decreased in the wash group.Conclusions:The percutaneous 3-needle procedure flushed out cell debris and inflammatory proteins from the necrotic femoral heads, decreased osteoclasts and macrophages, and increased bone formation following induction of ischemic osteonecrosis.Clinical Relevance:We believe that this is the first study to investigate the concept of washing out the necrotic femoral head to improve bone healing. The minimally invasive procedure may be useful to improve the necrotic bone environment and bone repair following ischemic osteonecrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1193-1202
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 7 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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