A combination treatment with porous tantalum rod implantation and intra-arterial infusion of peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs) provides a promise for treating early and intermediate stages of osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH). However, its clinical indications and application restrictions remain unclear. This study aims to determine the clinical, histological, and radiological outcomes of a combination treatment using mechanical support and a targeted intra-arterial infusion of PBSCs for painful ONFH with a cap-shaped separation (CSS) cartilage defect. Compared with the standard pain management (control group), this combination treatment did not improve the Harris Hip Score (HHS) at 36 months. Micro-CT and histologic analyses showed severe focal destruction in all CSS-ONFH femoral heads in both the combination and control groups. Femoral heads showed a higher percentage of bone lesions in the combination treatment group than in the control group. There was no significant difference in osteoclast number in the subchondral bone areas between the two groups. A high level of expression of inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β, was detected in blood vessels around the subchondral bone in both groups. The RANKL/OPG (receptor activator of the nuclear factor-kB ligand/osteoprotegerin) ratio was also similar between the control and combination treatment groups. Our results indicate that this combination treatment is not an effective method for the treatment of patients with painful CSS-ONFH. Moreover, this combination treatment did not inhibit inflammatory osteoclastogenesis in patients with more advanced disease.
- cap-shaped separated cartilage
- osteonecrosis of femoral head
- stem cells