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Several procedures available to treat aseptic necrosis

Dear Dr. Donohue: I would like information on aseptic necrosis. I'm having a lot of pain in my hip, which gives out on me at times. I was told by two doctors that I would need surgery.

- D.D.Answer: Aseptic necrosis, also known as "osteonecrosis," is an inexplicable interruption of blood flow to a section of bone. Often, the involved bone is the topmost part of the hip.

When blood flow dries up, the involved section of bone crumbles and dies.

Pain and limping are prominent features. The unstable bone can indeed "give out" on you.

A number of procedures can be employed to handle the condition:

- "Core decompression" surgery drills out small plugs of the dead bone. That sometimes stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and repair of the necrotic bone.

- Healthy portions of bone with a good blood supply can be grafted into the involved dead bone site.

- Pulsating, electromagnetic fields have had some success in re-establishing blood supply to the dead bone. The technique is still experimental and has not won official approval.

- A good number of people with aseptic necrosis of the hip undergo hip replacement surgery. It's a technique that offers quick relief and one that has stood the test of time.

Dear Dr. Donohue: Some time ago, you described a mixture of applesauce and some other ingredients as a natural laxative in case of constipation. I lost the article. Would you repeat it?

- T.L.

Answer: For you, T.L., I'll dust it off one more time. Mix two cups of bran with two cups of applesauce and one cup of unsweetened prune juice. Refrigerate the mixture. Take 2 to 3 tablespoonfuls twice a day.

Readers can order my report on constipation by writing: Dr. Donohue - No. 7, Box 5539, Riverton, NJ 08077-5539. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) No. 10 envelope and $3.