Osteonecrosis

Alternative Names

Avascular necrosis; Osteonecrosis; Ischemic bone necrosis; AVN; Aseptic necrosis

Definition of Osteonecrosis

Osteonecrosis is bone death caused by poor blood supply to the area. It is most common in the hip and shoulder.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Osteonecrosis occurs when part of the bone does not get blood and dies. After a while the bone can break off. If this condition is not treated, bone damage gets worse. Eventually, the affected part of the bone may collapse.

Symptoms

There are no symptoms in the early stages. As bone damage worsens, you may have the following symptoms:

Signs and tests

Your health care provider will do a complete physical exam to find out if you have any diseases or conditions that may affect your bones. You will be asked questions about your symptoms and medical history. The questions might include:

Treatment

If your health care provider knows the reason for osteonecrosis, part of the treatment will be aimed at the underlying condition. For example, if a blood clotting disorder is the reason, treatment will consist, in part, of clot-dissolving medicine.

Expectations (prognosis)

Prognosis depends on the following:

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/10/2009

Aseptic necrosis

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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