top of page


Core Decompression: Services


Avascular necrosis of the femoral head (ball of the hip) will ultimately cause the joint surface to collapse. If this has not yet happened it may be possible to save the joint by this operation. The advantage of the procedure is that it does not compromise the outcome of subsequent surgery should it become necessary. Once the surface is damaged, this operation is ineffective and you will need a hip replacement.


  • Preparing for your operation

    • We need to make sure you are as fit and prepared as possible to minimise the risk of complications and to ensure a speedy and smooth recovery. You will have a pre-assessment to identify any correctable abnormalities such as high blood pressure, anaemia​ and diabetes. It is advised that you stop smoking and try to loose weight if applicable. If you have a BMI of 40 or more we may have to postpone your surgery until you can loose some weight.

  • Surgical procedure

    • This operation requires a general or spinal anaesthetic and the consultant carrying this out will discuss with you which one is best considering your circumstances and preferences.

    • During surgery an inch-long cut is made on the side of the hip and a drill is passed into the ball of the joint. Depending on the size of the affected area this step may be repeated. We may fill the cavity created with artificial bone. 

  • Recovery

    • We aim to get you out of bed a few hours after your operation and you may leave the hospital the same day. You will need to offload the operated leg for 4-8 weeks using crutches. Our physiotherapists will help you with any walking aid you may require. 
      We will give you an exercise program for home and our physiotherapists will assess your progress regularly.


  • The pain in your hip should gradually subside, although this may take a few weeks or even months.

  • Range of movement should also improve and this may take longer if you had a stiff hip to start with.

  • Your mobility should improve gradually and once you can mobilise without crutches you can increase the amount you walk as you feel comfortable.  

  • Ultimately, if the surgery is successful you will enjoy the benefit of keeping your own hip.


  • Failure to prevent the collapse of the joint surface. Should this happen you will need a hip replacement.

  • Infection is rare and usually just requires a course of antibiotics. In very severe cases further surgery may be necessary.

  • Significant bleeding is uncommon.

  • Blood clots in the veins or lungs.

  • Anaesthetic complications are rare but you may feel sick or drop your blood pressure after surgery.

bottom of page