Avascular necrosis is a serious condition that develops when the blood supply to bone tissue is impaired or stops completely, resulting in bone tissue death.
Avascular necrosis is often referred to as osteonecrosis, or bone death. People with avascular necrosis are very prone to tiny fractures and, without effective treatment, complete destruction of bone tissue.
What causes avascular necrosis?
Avascular necrosis can be caused by different factors. Some of the most common include:
- Trauma causing fracture or joint dislocation.
- Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, especially at high doses.
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
- Fat deposits in the blood vessels which block blood flow to the bone.
- Radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
- Serious chronic diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, HIV infection and lupus.
- Organ transplant, especially of the kidneys.
About a quarter of all cases of avascular necrosis have no identifiable cause. Avascular necrosis can affect anyone at any age, but it tends to be more common among men and occurs most commonly between the ages of 30 and 50 years.
Avascular necrosis rarely causes noticeable symptoms in its early stages, but as the disease progresses, achiness and pain can occur when weight is placed on an effected bone or joint, and eventually, the pain and discomfort can increase and persist even when lying down and resting. Although osteonecrosis can occur anywhere in the body, it tends to primarily affect the hips, knees, feet, shoulders and hands.
How is avascular necrosis treated?
Treatment for avascular necrosis is aimed at improving the comfort and mobility of the patient while limiting bone and joint damage and preventing progression of the condition. The type of treatment depends on several factors, including the extent and location of the diseased bone or joint, the age and health of the patient and the underlying cause of the disease.
Both nonsurgical and surgical interventions may be used depending on these and other factors.
Nonsurgical intervention includes the use of medications to reduce pain and improve blood flow, exercises to improve range of motion and promote circulation, and avoidance of weight-bearing activities to enable the area to rest so healing may occur.
In more advanced cases or when conservative nonsurgical approaches aren’t effective, surgery may be necessary to reshape the bone, graft healthy bone tissue into a damaged area, or replace an affected joint.
Why choose Dr. Karkare?
Dr. Karkare is a leading orthopedic surgeon in New York City with multiple locations on Long Island. He provides patients with the most effective and advanced treatments for avascular necrosis.
His extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of bone and joint health issues means he is uniquely positioned to help patients understand the cause of their condition while creating customized solutions based on each patient’s unique needs and health profiles.
If you’ve been experiencing any type of joint or bone pain or weakness, being evaluated is the first step toward ensuring you get the best and most appropriate care for complete recovery and optimum health.