Avascular Necrosis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
by John Gary
A condition that not many people understand, avascular necrosis is more serious than patients imagine. It is a condition where the bone tissue in a person’s body begins to die due to insufficient blood supply to the impacted area. The condition often begins with tiny breaks in those bones, but can result in a complete collapse if it is not treated quickly and in the right way.
Symptoms of Avascular Necrosis
One of the troubling facts regarding this condition is how symptoms may not even manifest at first. Pain will come eventually, whenever you put significant pressure on those bones. The first time patients assume something is seriously wrong is when the infrequent pain in that area becomes permanent. If nothing is done at this point, it could become a permanent condition where the bone in that part of the body will eventually collapse.
The most likely areas that are impacted by avascular necrosis are the hip, groin, thigh or buttocks. If you begin to experience pain in any of these areas, and you know it is not the result of an impact injury, you may want to see a physical therapist. The avascular necrosis treatment process can become complicated, but finding an orthopedic surgeon is your best way towards a full recovery. They will catch the condition early, set you on a rigorous course of treatment, and they will get that part of your body as close to its full strength as possible.
Avascular Necrosis Causes
Doctors are still not 100 percent sure why this condition occurs. However, it is strongly suspected that when the blood supply to the impacted bones is interrupted, the condition can become a serious issue. Sometimes it is the result of a traumatic impact injury, or the result of another disease.
A bone fracture or discoloration, excessive steroid use, certain medications and abuse of alcohol are also reasons why avascular necrosis may occur in patients. It is more common in the elderly, but anyone between the ages of 30 and 60 is at risk depending on their circumstances.
Treatment for Avascular Necrosis
The first step towards treating the condition is ensuring that the impacted bones are not further injured. Playing sports or strenuous activity is a no go when you are diagnosed, because an impact injury could have disastrous consequences. A physical therapist will also work with you to manage the underlying issues that caused this condition. Whether it is steroid use, alcohol consumption or medication, they will help you figure out why this happened and how to stop it in its tracks.
Some patients require surgery for full recovery. There are two types of procedures that may be required: joint replacement and joint preservation procedures. Whether preservation is an option will depend on your situation and how early the condition was detected. But even with joint replacement, a full recovery is possible. It will require the successful completion of surgery, and some serious work in physical therapy in the subsequent months, but many patients who suffer from this condition go on to lead happy and healthy lives.