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Core decompression is a surgical procedure that involves surgical drilling into the area of dead bone near the joint. This reduces pressure, allows for increased blood flow, and slows or stops bone and/or joint destruction. Core decompression is commonly performed to treat osteonecrosis.
Stanford's orthopaedic surgeons offer enhanced core decompression and cell/bone grafting techniques, which can benefit individuals with stage 1 and stage 2 osteonecrosis. Core decompression is typically successful for 50-90% of patients. Its success depends on the amount and location of bone death in a joint, how much weight the joint tends to bear and other factors.
Before the procedure is performed, you care team will do an MRI of the affected joint using advanced imaging techniques available at Stanford. This helps identify the areas of dead bone that need removal. Removing the dead bone stimulates healthy bone production and the development of new blood vessels.