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Avascular Necrosis

Causes of Avascular Necrosis

There are several causes of avascular necrosis. These causes can be separated as those related to trauma (trauma-related avascular necrosis) and causes not related to trauma (nontraumatic avascular necrosis). The two most common nontraumatic causes are steroid medicines and alcohol use.

Symptoms of Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis symptoms vary based on the location and severity of the disease and whether the bone is a weight-bearing one.
In the early stages of the disease, people may not have any symptoms of avascular necrosis at all. As the condition progresses, however, symptoms can include:
Other health problems can also cause these symptoms, so anyone with possible symptoms of avascular necrosis should see a doctor. Only a doctor can diagnose and treat the problem.

Diagnosing Avascular Necrosis

In order to make an avascular necrosis diagnosis, the doctor will ask a number of questions, perform a physical exam, and recommend certain tests. Tests used to make a diagnosis, determine the amount of bone affected, and how far the disease has progressed include:
  • X-rays
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
  • Bone scans
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Biopsy
  • Functional evaluation of bone.

Treatment for Avascular Necrosis

Several avascular necrosis treatment options are available that can help prevent further bone and joint damage and reduce pain.
The goals of treatment are:
  • Improve use of the affected joint
  • Stop further damage to the bone
  • Ensure bone and joint survival.
To reach these goals, the doctor may recommend one of several nonsurgical treatment options or surgery.
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Avascular Necrosis Information

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