Arthroscopic-Assisted Core Decompression of the Humeral Head

Joshua S. Dines, Eric J. Strauss, Stephen Fealy, Edward V. Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Abstract: Humeral head osteonecrosis is a progressive disease that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. Core decompression is a viable treatment option for early-stage cases. Most surgeons perform core decompression by arthroscopically visualizing the necrotic area of bone and using a cannulated drill to take a core. Several attempts are frequently needed to reach the proper location. In the hip multiple passes are associated with complications. We describe the use of an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tibial drill guide to precisely localize the area of necrotic bone. Diagnostic arthroscopy is performed to assess the areas of osteonecrosis. Core decompression is performed by use of an ACL tibial guide, brought in through the anterior or posterior portal to precisely localize the necrotic area in preparation for drilling. Under image intensification, Steinmann pins are advanced into the area of osteonecrosis. Once positioned, several 4-mm cores are made. We treated 3 patients with this technique, and all had immediate pain relief. The use of the ACL guide allows precise localization of the area of humeral head involvement and avoids multiple drillings into unaffected areas. Initial indications are that arthroscopic-assisted core decompression with an ACL guide is an effective alternative to previously used methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103.e1-103.e4
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Arthroscopic
  • Core decompression
  • Humerus
  • Osteonecrosis

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