Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Necrosis of the Hip Anatomy

To better understand avascular necrosis of the hip, it helps to understand the anatomy of the hip joint.

The hip is a ball and socket joint between the head of the upper femur (thighbone) and the bony pelvis. The femoral head is the ball and the acetabulum of the pelvic bone is the socket. The hip joint is lined with cartilage. Cartilage is the smooth, gliding surface inside all joints. Joints are also lubricated with a substance known as synovial fluid.

The hip bursae are fluid-filled areas in the soft tissues around the hip joint where tendons and muscles pass over bony prominences. These fluid-filled sacs serve as a cushion between tendons and bone and lubricate the region with synovial fluid.

Anatomy examples:

  • The hip joint viewed from the front
  • The hip joint with the joint capsule open
  • The hip joint viewed from behind
  • Normal hip x-ray
  • The femur and pelvis

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Necrosis of the Hip References
  1. Balakrishnan A, Schemitsch EH, Pearce D, McKee MD. Distinguishing transient osteoporosis of the hip from avascular necrosis. Can J Surg. 2003 Jun;46(3):187-92. [12812240]
  2. Desai MM, Sonone S, Bhasme V. Efficacy of alendronate in the treatment of avascular necrosis of the hip. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2005 Jun 21. [15972347]
  3. Watson RM, Roach NA, Dalinka MK. Avascular necrosis and bone marrow edema syndrome. Radiol Clin North Am. 2004 Jan;42(1):207-19. [15049532]
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