Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular Necrosis

What is avascular necrosis?

Avascular necrosis is a disease that results from the temporary or permanent loss of blood supply to the bone. It is also called osteonecrosis, aseptic necrosis, or ischemic bone necrosis. When blood supply is cut off, the bone tissue dies and the bone collapses. If avascular necrosis occurs near a joint, collapse of the joint surface may occur.

Avascular necrosis may occur in any bone, but most commonly occurs in the ends of a long bone. It may affect one bone, several bones at one time, or different bones at different times.

What causes avascular necrosis?

Avascular necrosis may be the result of the following:

Other theories and associations have been suggested as risk factors.

What is a risk factor?

A risk factor is anything that may increase a person's chance of developing a disease. It may be an activity, such as smoking, diet, family history, or many other things. Different diseases have different risk factors.

Although these factors can increase a person's risk, they do not necessarily cause the disease. Some people with one or more risk factors never develop a disease, while others develop the disease and have no known risk factors.

But, knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you into the appropriate actions, including changing behaviors and being clinically monitored for the disease.

What are the risk factors for avascular necrosis?

Suggested risk factors for avascular necrosis include the following:

What are the symptoms of avascular necrosis?

The following are the most common symptoms for avascular necrosis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of avascular necrosis may resemble other medical conditions or bone problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How is avascular necrosis diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for avascular necrosis may include the following:

Treatment for avascular necrosis

Specific treatment for avascular necrosis will be determined by your doctor based on:

The goal of treatment for avascular necrosis is to improve functionality or to stop further damage to the affected bone or joint. Treatments are necessary to keep joints from breaking down, and may include:

Other treatments for avascular necrosis may include electrical stimulation and combination therapies to encourage the growth of new bone.

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