What Is Bone Marrow Edema of the Hip Joint?

Bone marrow edema of the hip joint occurs when the bone marrow inside the hip bone becomes inflamed and filled with fluid, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. A hip bone with bone marrow edema appears bright white on an MRI scan of the joint. Bone marrow edema is a common indicator of transient osteoporosis of the hip. Other potential causes of bone marrow edema include fractures, bone tumors, bone bruises and ligament injuries, notes Robert J. Daley, M.D.

The fluid accumulation in bone marrow edema is a natural protective response of the body, states Robert J. Daley, M.D. The most common symptom of bone marrow edema is bone pain, and the fluid accumulation may also cause diminished functioning of the bone or joint. Patients with bone marrow edema do not always experience symptoms.

As of 2015, there is no cure for bone marrow edema, but the symptoms may improve along with treatment of the underlying injury or medical condition, notes Robert J. Daley, M.D. This may involve resting the joint, medication therapy, steroid injections or surgical intervention. Surgical procedures that doctors sometimes recommend for patients with bone marrow edema include tumor removal, pinning of fractures and surgical repair of any ligament damage contributing to the condition.