Avascular necrosis is a condition which appears when there is a loss of blood supply to the bone, resulting in bone death. Avascular necrosis is also known as aseptic necrosis, ischemic bone necrosis, or osteonecrosis. Avascular necrosis is most common in the shoulder and hip but can affect other joints, such as knee, wrist, ankle, and elbow. If avascular necrosis is left untreated, it can result in severe arthritis and collapsing of bone.
Causes of avascular necrosis
The most common cause of avascular necrosis is loss of blood supply to the bone tissue. Alive tissue needs the proper flow of blood supply in the joint. When blood does not reach the tissue it dies. There are a number of factors such as a disease, injury, or trauma. Sometimes a fracture or dislocation can affect the blood supply to the bone. Some other causes of avascular necrosis are:
In initial stages, there are no symptoms of avascular necrosis, as the disease progresses a patient may experience painful symptoms. Symptoms of avascular necrosis are:
Diagnosis of avascular necrosis
- Constant pain in the affected bone
- Lack of movement
- Groin pain, if hip bone is affected
- Pain while walking or doing any other mild physical work
- Bruising of skin around the affected joint
- Excessive swelling
The doctor will begin the diagnosis with a physical examination of the affected joint and will ask questions such as, when did the patient first experienced symptoms. A doctor will also check your all-medical history to find out if avascular necrosis is related to any other disease present in the body. Diagnostic tests
done to determine avascular necrosis are:
- X-ray- Reveals the changes in the bone structure if any.
- Bone scan- A little amount of radioactive material is injected into your vein. The radioactive material makes the injured or healed portion visible on the imaging plate.
- Magnetic Resource Imaging (MRI) and CT scan- Show the detailed images of which shows the change in the bone.
The treatment of avascular necrosis depends upon its cause. The goal of the treatment is to revive blood flow and to prevent further bone damage.
- Cholesterol control medicine to reduce the excessive amount of bad cholesterol and fat in the patient’s blood. Excessive cholesterol hinders the proper flow of blood in the body.
- Inflammatory drugs to provide relief from the inflammation and pain due to avascular necrosis.
- Blood thinners and osteoporosis drugs to prevent blood clots and slow the progression of avascular necrosis.
- Joint replacement- A joint replacement surgery is done to replace the damaged parts of joint with metal or plastic.
- Bone transplant- The part of healthy bone removed and grafted with the affected bone this procedure is known as a bone transplant.