The etiology of osteonecrosis of the hip may have a genetic basis. The interaction between certain risk factors and a genetic predisposition may determine whether this disease will develop in a particular individual. The rationale for use of joint-sparing procedures in the treatment of this disease is based on radiographic measurements and findings with other imaging modalities. Early diagnosis and intervention prior to collapse of the femoral head is key to a successful outcome of joint-preserving procedures. The results of joint-preserving procedures are less satisfactory than the results of total hip arthroplasty for femoral heads that have already collapsed. New pharmacological measures as well as the use of growth and differentiation factors for the prevention and treatment of this disease may eventually alter our treatment approach, but it is necessary to await results of clinical research with long-term follow-up of these patients.