Hello everyone, First off let me say to anyone reading this that I’m sorry you are here, even though I am happy you have a place like this to come to. I have been dealing with chronic pain for a long while now and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy; although I’m sure my two boys would be happy to take it all away and give it to a bad guy lol. I’m here to get some insight from anyone who experienced core decompression or anyone who is knowledagble on the subject. I’ll try to be brief but it isn’t one of my strengths at least when writing (added a little “too long didn’t read” summary at that the bottom. I am a 33 y/o male with AVN of both hips I have had a 10+ year history of low back problems and neuropathy in my left leg, that included 3 separate discectomy/hemi laminectomy surgeries on L4-L5 and L5-S1, countless epidurals (something like 12-15 I think), countless medications including prednisone dose packs, many years of physical therapy, nerve burning, spinal cord stimulator trials, and finally a two level fusion in 2017. After my recovery from the fusion was almost done and I was finally supposed to get out of my ridiculous back brace, I was still complaining about pain near my hips. Neuro surgeon thought it might be bursitis, but an ortho I went to determined it was AVN. I know it is largely affecting the anterior and superior region on both sides. Never got an exact size of legions or the stage, however it was initially discovered from my xrays so I assume it is likely stage 2 as I do not have flattening/collapse yet. First ortho wanted to replace both as he thought it was a lost cause to keep going through more surgeries and recoveries when it wasn’t likely to work. I went to a Harvard educated doctor in another city (whom my mom used to work for and knows personally) that did some stem cell related decompression and he thought there was a good chance it would work. He doesn’t do hip replacements only bone recovery type stuff if that makes any difference I had the left done in March of 2018 and the right in June 2018. Recovery was a bit drawn out, likely due to my neuropathy, the fact that I was barely removed from my fusion and still had that damn brace on for awhile, and the overall muscle weakness and irregular gait/limp. I have continued to have similar or even slightly worse pain in the hips. The typical grinding feeling, that weird feeling where my hip/leg feels like it’s caught for a second or doesn’t want to go the same direction as the rest of me, etc... On the left side I am not often clear how much is my hip and what is the nerve damage, but my right has no nerve issues really but still has similar pain. I went in a month early as I am not feeling better and work/disability stuff is really starting to get stressful given my length of time out of work. The xrays did not show collapse or flattening, but he sent me for my MRI as one was already passed 12 months and the other was at 11 months post CD. The MRI also noted no flattening or collapse of the femoral head. On both the left and right it stated that there is AVN of the superior aspect that is minimally more extensive than the pre-surgery MRI from last January. No mention of the anterior that was originally mentioned in both right and left MRI reports (originally stated AVN was most pronounced anteriorly and superiorly). Is this normal? Am I wrong to have assumed success would mean at the very least no additional AVN if not actually showing recovery/healing of the original. Not sure if the anterior is gone or this radiologist just didn’t mention it (I would expect a mention of improvement if that actually happened). I will hopefully touch base with my surgeon soon once I can drive the 3 hours to get him this stuff and get an appointment. I just really want to have an idea of what I’m looking at here because I know the tendency to dismiss pain or feel that their work was successful if the results aren’t obviously catastrophic. TLDR: am 33, male with lumbar fusion, have bilateral AVN of hips (probably stage 2 as X-ray caught it) with no femoral head collapse, did core decompression with stem cell/bone marrow aspirate on both (14 months ago for left, 11 months ago for right). Still have grinding, catching pain and legs that feel like they are filled with concrete. MRI of both hips state that there is still AVN involving superior aspect that is minimally more extensive than pre surgery MRI (with no mention of anterior aspect originally noted). What does this mean? Did it work? Is it only supposed to slow the progression or are they not supposed to find any AVN and certainly not any that’s more extensive, even if only minimally? Sorry for the long novel of a post. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all and I hope one day you all may be pain free!