Aseptic Necrosis or Death of Bone

General or Other | Orthopaedics | Aseptic Necrosis or Death of Bone (Disease)


Avascular necrosis also known as osteonecrosis, is a condition where because of blood supply arrest cellular death (necrosis) of bone components. Osteonecrosis occurs when part of the bone does not get blood and dies. After a while the bone can collapse. If this condition is not treated, the joint will deteriorate and this will become severe arthritis.

There are no symptoms in the early stages. As bone damage worsens, you may have the following symptoms: pain in the joint that may increase over time, and will become very severe if the bone collapses, pain that occurs even at rest, limited range of motion, groin pain, if the hip joint is affected, limping, if the condition occurs in or below the hips.

Causes and Risk factors

Osteonecrosis can be caused by disease, or a severe trauma, such as a break or dislocation, that affects the blood supply to the bone. Many times, no trauma or disease is present. This is called idiopathic osteonecrosis, meaning it occurs without any known cause. The following can cause osteonecrosis: long-term treatments with steroids; excessive alcohol use; Sickle cell disease; Radiation therapy; Gaucher disease; decompression sickness from a lot of deep sea diving; dislocation or fractures around a joint. Some diseases that may be associated with the development of this condition include: Gout; Atherosclerosis and Diabetes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Consultation is necessary and following tests may be done: X-ray, MRI, bone scan and CT scan.

Part of the treatment will be aimed at the underlying condition. Nonsurgical treatment can often slow the progression of osteonecrosis, but most people will need surgery. ...