Avascular Necrosis (AVN) occurs when a bone’s blood supply is disrupted. The bone cells die, and the dead bone weakens and may begin to fracture and collapse, leading to arthritis. It most commonly affects the head of the femur, but can also affect other bones in the body. Avascular necrosis causes hip pain and loss of mobility in the hip joint. Pain can be mild or severe, but usually develops gradually. Hip pain may be most noticeable during physical activity, but eventually the joint may hurt even when at rest.
Causes and risk factors:
- Bone fracture
- Heavy alcohol use
- Joint dislocation
- Prolonged use of corticosteroids
Although medications, exercises, and rest may slow the progression of the disease, avascular necrosis of the hip will typically need to be treated with surgery. Surgical options may include core decompression, bone reshaping, osteotomy, bone grafting, or hip replacement.