Avascular Necrosis

Avascular Necrosis is the medical condition where the supply of blood to bone tissue is hampered leading to death of bone tissues. The condition is also refereed as osteonecrosis and it causes tiny breakage in to the bone and eventually the bones collapse. When you have a fracture or the joints become dislocated, the supply of blood to the section of bone is hampered and this causes Avascular Necrosis. The condition may also be caused because of prolonged use of steroid medications and intake of excessive alcohol.

The hip joint is the section of bone which is primarily affected by the condition and the condition may occur to anyone, especially in people between 30 and 60 years.

What are the Symptoms of Avascular Necrosis?

In the early stage of Avascular Necrosis no signs or symptoms are develop and making it difficult to diagnose it in early stage. As the condition worsens, the joints which are affected would hurt when you put weight on it. You may also experience the hurt in the joint when you are lying down.

You may experience severe pain which would develop gradually. The joints in foot, hands, knee, shoulder and hip are likely to be affected by Avascular Necrosis.

Causes of Avascular Necrosis

As mentioned, Avascular Necrosis is the death of bone tissue which is caused when the supply of blood to the section of bone is hampered or reduced. Some of the conditions due to which the supply of blood in the bone section may get reduce and cause Avascular Necrosis is:

  • Pressure inside the bone – There are some conditions like Gaucher’s Disease or Sickle Cell Anemia which tend to increase the pressure inside bone and hence making it difficult for blood to enter the tissues and this leads to Avascular Necrosis
  • Bone or Joint Injury – Some of the traumatic injuries like dislocated joints may hamper the circulation of blood in the bone sections and this leads to bone tissue death. Some of the cancer treatments involving radiation may also make the bone weak and damage the blood vessels and this may cause Avascular Necrosis

What are the Risk Factors of Avascular Necrosis?

The risk of developing Avascular Necrosis increases due to certain diseases or conditions, excessive drinking, and medical treatments.

  • When you drink alcoholic beverages for prolong period of time it cause fatty deposits in blood vessels and restricts the circulation of blood in bone tissues which may cause Avascular Necrosis
  • Prolong use of steroid medications and osteoporosis drugs are also harmful and may cause Avascular Necrosis
  • Medications and medical conditions like lupus, HIV, diabetes, sickle cell anaemia are some conditions which may increase the risk of developing Avascular Necrosis

Testing and Diagnosis

Doctors would check the tenderness around the joints by pressing around the joints. Joints would also be moved in varied positions to check the range of motion. There are also imaging tests which are conducted like x-rays, bone scanning, MRI to check the signs and symptoms of Avascular Necrosis. MRI provides the doctors with detailed images of the internal structures of bone and through the images they can easily make out if you are having Avascular Necrosis.

Treatments and Medicines

The focus of Avascular Necrosis treatment is to reduce the bone loss. The treatment plan for your condition depends on the amount of bone damages that the patient is already having.

  • Doctors may start the treatment plan with certain medications which includes non-steroidal anti inflammatory medications to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with Avascular Necrosis. Other medications are also prescribed like osteoporosis drugs, blood thinners and cholesterol drugs which help in treating the condition.
  • Physcial therapies are also prescribed by the doctors to treat the condition and improvise the joint health. Electrical stimulation is prescribed that encourages the body to grow new bone to replace the damaged ones which is caused by Avascular Necrosis.
  • Surgery is also performed when the condition is in the advanced stage. Bone transplant, core decompression, bone reshaping, joint replacements are some of the common surgical procedures which are perform to treat the condition of Avascular Necrosis.

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