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Avascular Necrosis

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis is a disease that results from the temporary or permanent loss of blood supply to the bone. When blood supply is cut off, the bone tissue dies and the bone collapses. If avascular necrosis happens near a joint, the joint surface may collapse.
This condition may happen in any bone. It most commonly happens in the ends of a long bone. It may affect one bone, several bones at one time, or different bones at different times.

Risk Factors

  • Injury
  • Bone surgery
  • Steroid use
  • Alcohol use
  • Blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia
  • Radiation treatments
  • Chemotherapy
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diver’s disease or “the bends” (decompression sickness)
  • Blood clots easily
  • High cholesterol
  • Autoimmune disease
  • HIV

Avascular Necrosis


Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
The goal of treatment is to improve your ability to use the joint and stop more damage to the bone or joint. Treatments are needed to keep

joints from breaking down. They may include:

  • Medicines. These are used to control pain.
  • Assistive devices. These are used to reduce weight on the bone or joint.
  • Core decompression. For this surgery, the inner layer of bone is removed to reduce pressure, increase blood flow, and slow or stop bone and joint destruction.
  • Osteotomy. This procedure reshapes the bone and reduces stress on the affected area.
  • Bone graft. In this procedure, healthy bone is transplanted from another part of the body into the affected area.
  • Joint replacement. This surgery removes and replaces an arthritic or damaged joint with an artificial joint. This may be considered only after other treatments have failed to ease pain or disability.
  • Other treatments may include electrical stimulation and combination therapies to promote bone growth.
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