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What is Avascular Necrosis (AVN)?

by Princeton Orthopaedic Associates

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What is Avascular Necrosis (AVN)?

by Princeton Orthopaedic Associates

Understanding Avascular Necrosis (AVN)

Avascular necrosis, also known as osteonecrosis, occurs when your blood supply to a bone is disrupted due to various factors, leading to the death of bone tissue. This lack of blood flow deprives the bone of essential oxygen and nutrients, causing the bone to weaken and eventually collapse.

Avascular Necrosis (AVN) Symptoms:

The symptoms of avascular necrosis can vary. It depends on the affected bone, but common signs include:

  • Joint pain, which may worsen with activity and improve with rest.
  • Limited range of motion in your affected joint.
  • Stiffness and swelling.
  • Eventually, if left untreated, the bone may collapse, leading to severe arthritis and disability.

Why you can trust us:

  • Our team is comprised of Orthopedic Surgeons who are specialists. This means that whether you have a hip-related need or a shoulder issue, you'll see someone whose entire professional life is focused on that.
  • We believe in the power of specialization. For our patients, that means we have multiple physiatric doctors who only focus on diagnosis, prevention, and rehabilitation.
  • Our primary goal is to get you back to the things you love. We work with our patients to achieve their goals and develop a custom plan of action.

Want to know more? Visit our website.


Factors Contributing to Avascular Necrosis

Several factors can contribute to the development of avascular necrosis:

Where Does Avascular Necrosis Affect the Body?

Avascular necrosis (AVN) can affect various body parts, particularly those highly reliant on strong, healthy bones and good blood circulation.

These are the areas most commonly affected by AVN:

These areas are particularly vulnerable to AVN because they contain weight-bearing joints or are subjected to significant mechanical stress. Additionally, the blood supply to these areas may be compromised due to their anatomical location or underlying conditions, making them more susceptible to AVN. However, AVN can occur in any bone in the body, depending on the underlying causes and risk factors.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Avascular Necrosis 

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Diagnosis typically involves a combination of your medical history, a physical examination, and imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. Treatment options depend on the stage of the condition. They may include medications to relieve pain, physical therapy to improve joint function, and surgical procedures such as core decompression, bone grafting, or joint replacement.

Early detection and intervention are crucial to managing avascular necrosis and preventing further complications. If you're experiencing symptoms or have concerns about AVN, consult a healthcare professional for evaluation and appropriate treatment.

Treatment Options For Avascular Necrosis May Include:

  • Medications to relieve pain.
  • Physical therapy to improve joint function.
  • Surgical procedures like core decompression, bone grafting, or joint replacement like shoulder hemiarthroplasty.

Seeking Early Intervention for Avascular Necrosis

Early detection and intervention are crucial in managing avascular necrosis and preventing further complications. If you suspect you have AVN or experience symptoms, promptly seeking medical attention is crucial. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional promptly for appropriate diagnosis and treatment, and at Princeton Orthopaedic Associates, our specialists can provide a comprehensive evaluation, listen to your concerns, and build a custom treatment plan, personalizing it to your needs.

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Are you suffering from joint pain?

Please contact us! We'd love to help.

If you have joint pain, please contact us and schedule an appointment. We have urgent care facilities all over New Jersey for your convenience.

Our specialists include:

Orthopedic Surgeons: 

Specializing in bone disorders, orthopedic surgeons offer treatments ranging from medications to surgical procedures like core decompression or joint replacement.

Physiatrists (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialists): 

Physiatrists focus on nonsurgical treatments like physical therapy to improve joint function and manage pain.

Are you worried about AVN affecting your hip or another joint? It's crucial to consult with a specialist, such as an orthopedic surgeon, to develop a personalized treatment plan. Early detection and proper management can significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for individuals with AVN.

Meet Some of POA's Physiatrists

Is Avascular Necrosis (AVN) Hereditary?

Although it's less common compared to other causes like trauma or medication use, some genetic factors may predispose individuals to AVN, making them more susceptible to the condition. 

Research suggests that specific genetic mutations or variations may increase the risk of AVN. For example, mutations affecting proteins that maintain blood vessel function or regulate bone metabolism could potentially contribute to AVN development.  Additionally, some hereditary conditions, such as sickle cell disease, can increase the likelihood of AVN.

While genetics may play a role, a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors, such as trauma, medication use, or other medical conditions, influence the development of AVN. The exact genetic factors contributing to AVN are still being studied, and more research is needed to understand them fully.

This blog post is meant to be informative and should not act as a self-diagnosis tool. If you’d like to see one of our doctors, please contact us here.

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