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Avascular Necrosis

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A decrease or loss of blood supply to a patient’s bones can result in avascular necrosis. When bone is denied blood, bone tissue dies. The result can be the collapse of a bone and/or the collapse of a joint. Avascular necrosis is also called Osteonecrosis or Ischemic Bone Necrosis.

Avascular necrosis typically affects patients that are young adults to middle-aged adults. Orthopedic surgeons most often diagnose and treat the disease. Avascular necrosis is typically found in the tips of weight-bearing bones such as the femur (upper leg) or in the joints.

The extent to which a patient suffers disability as a result of avascular necrosis depends on the severity of the necrosis and the timing of diagnosis. Bones do heal and regrow. Therefore, avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis can resolve in certain cases.

Causes of Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis results from trauma, the use of steroids, certain blood disorders or excessive alcohol use, etc.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Avascular Necrosis

Symptoms most often start with joint pain. Diagnosis is typically achieved through a combination of X-ray, MRI, bone scan, CT, etc. Biopsies are used occasionally. A bone biopsy is a surgical procedure in which part of the bone tissue is harvested and studied. Biopsy is used less often than the other lesser invasive techniques.

Treatment Options

Treatment options range from conservative to surgical. Conservative options include the use of medications, exercise regimens, electric stimulation and rest/decreasing weight-bearing activities. Conservative treatments are not typically an option toward the goal of permanent improvement. Surgery is often necessary.

Surgical options include the use of bone graft procedures, joint replacement procedures, osteotomy and/or decompression.

Medical malpractice cases involving avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis can arise where there is a failure to timely diagnose the condition or a failure to properly treat the condition.

If you believe you or a loved one has suffered medical malpractice related to osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis, you are welcome and encouraged to call the Kentucky medical malpractice team at Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC to schedule a free consultation with our Louisville avascular necrosis attorneys.