Avascular necrosis, or osteonecrosis of the femoral head, is a condition that results when blood flow to the head ball of the hip is reduced or stopped, resulting in the death of cells in the bone tissue. This can ultimately cause the weakening and collapse of the bone in the femoral head. As a result of the collapse, the normally round femoral head becomes irregular in shape, leading to further destruction of the joint.
Avascular Necrosis Causes
Avascular necrosis may be caused by a number of conditions that cut off the supply of blood (and thereby oxygen and nutrients) to the bone, including injuries, such as a broken bone or dislocated joint, narrowed blood vessels, steroid medications, or excessive alcohol intake.
Avascular Necrosis Symptoms
There are no symptoms in the early stages of avascular necrosis. However, as bone damage worsens, the following symptoms may be present:
- Pain, usually in the groin, may increase over time and will become severe if the bone collapses
- Pain that occurs even at rest
Avascular Necrosis Treatment
The pain and loss of motion from collapsed avascular necrosis can be corrected by total hip replacement.