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The hip is the most common joint that avascular necrosis (also called osteonecrosis) impacts. Similar to Perthes disease in children, this condition occurs when bone tissue basically dies because of a lack of blood supply.
Often caused by joint or bone injuries, or abuse of alcohol or steroids, the most common initial symptom of avascular necrosis is pain when putting weight on the hip. Typically it is diagnosed through an imaging test, either X-ray, MRI or scan.
Avascular Necrosis Treatments
As with any orthopedic condition, the severity of the problem dictates the course of treatment. More extreme cases need surgery. This might include osteotomy, a surgery that removes or reshapes the bone to take the pressure off the ball of the hip joint or total hip replacement.
If the disease is caught prior to the collapse of the joint surface, then joint-preserving surgeries, like osteotomy or femoral head pressure relief, are effective at minimizing pain.
After the joint surface collapses, a hip replacement is usually the only long-term durable option for treating osteonecrosis patients. This replacement can be a total joint replacement or a direct anterior hip replacement.