What is Avascular necrosis?
Also known as osteonecrosis or aseptic necrosis, this condition is caused by the lack of blood circulation in the bones, which causes the decomposition and death of the tissue, regularly affecting the long bones of the body, especially the femur, although it can occur in any bone.
This disease can affect people of all ages, but its incidence is higher in men between 40 and 50 years old.
The cessation or reduction of blood circulation that causes avascular necrosis can result from the following, among other causes:
- Bone or joint injuries, such as fractures or dislocations that can cause damage to blood vessels.
- Organ transplants.
- Circulatory obstructions due to excess lipids in the blood.
- Sickle-cell disease.
- Gaucher disease.
Often, there are no symptoms when avascular necrosis begins, but as it progresses, the main symptom, which is pain in the damaged joint area, appears and progressively intensifies.
At first, the pain may occur only when you move, support, or exert force in the joint, but in later stages, the pain is intense despite being immobile, sitting, or lying down.
How can I prevent it?
- Lowering your cholesterol levels.
- Limit your corticosteroid intake.
- Quit smoking.
- Decrease alcohol intake.
Diagnosis and treatment
Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and medical history, they will perform a physical examination in which they will touch different areas of the painful joints to observe their sensitivity and will have you move them in different directions to notice your movement limitations.
Likewise, they will request a series of tests to rule out other conditions that cause joint pain and confirm the diagnosis, such as x-rays, MRI, computed tomography, and bone scan.
The treatment to follow will depend on the severity of your case, but its purpose is to prevent the condition from advancing, so it will prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anticoagulants, and drugs to fight osteoporosis, as well as others to lower cholesterol, combined with physical therapy and electrical stimulation.
In severe cases, treatment options are surgical in nature and range from procedures to decompress the bone core, grafts, osteotomy, to joint replacements.
At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.
Related centers and departments
- Pabón PCA, Solano SLA, Antúnez OJA. Necrosis avascular de cabeza femoral. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2020;5(07):1-12.
- AyalaGDA, MirandaVJE, TorresCYJ, et al. Update of medications associated with avascular necrosis of the jaws. Perspective and literature review. Rev ADM. 2020;77(4):197-202. doi:10.35366/95113.
- Jardón GA, King MA, Pacheco DC. Avascular Necrosis: Complication in a Young Patient. Rev Fac Med UNAM. 2020;63(2):18-23.
- Schmitz G, Sánchez RC, Elizondo MK, et al. Oxigenación hiperbárica en el manejo de la necrosis avascular de la cabeza del fémur. Acta Med. 2003;1(1):23-26.