Cocktail therapy for femoral head necrosis of the hip

Shan Ling Hsu, Ching Jen Wang*, Mel Shiuann Sheng Lee, Yi Sheng Chan, Chung Cheng Huang, Kuender D. Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

51 Scopus citations


Introduction: Cocktail therapy consists of extracorporeal shock wave treatment (ESWT), hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) and alendronate. We hypothesized that this combined therapy may produce better results than ESWT alone when treating hip necrosis. Methods: This prospective, randomized study evaluated the effectiveness of cocktail therapy in early hip necrosis, and then compared it to shock wave treatment alone. Sixty-three patients (98 hips) were randomly divided into two groups. Group A consisted of 28 patients (50 hips) who received cocktail therapy, and group B consisted of 35 patients (48 hips) who received only ESWT. Each affected hip was treated with 6,000 shocks of ESWT at 28 kV (equivalent to 0.62 mJ/mm2) in a single session. Cocktail patients also received HBO therapy performed in a multi-place chamber daily for 20 treatments, and they were administered 70 mg of alendronate orally per week for 1 year. The evaluations included clinical assessment, radiograph and MRI. Results: After a minimum of 2-years of follow-up, the overall results showed 74% improved, 16% unchanged and 10% worsened in group A; and 79.2% improved, 10.4% unchanged and 10.4% worsened in group B (P = 0.717). Total hip replacement (THR) was performed for 10% of group A and 10.4% of group B (P = 0.946). MRI showed significant reduction in bone marrow edema and a trend of decrease in the size of the lesions in both groups, however, no difference was noted between the two groups. Cocktail therapy is effective for early hip necrosis, but the results are comparable to ESWT in short-term follow up. The joint effects of HBO and alendronate over EWST were not observed. Conclusion: Long-term results are needed to determine whether or not the synergistic effects of ESWT, HBO and alendronate over ESWT alone exist in early hip necrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Alendronate
  • Cocktail therapy
  • ESWT
  • HBO
  • Hip necrosis


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