Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size

Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis)

Treatment for Avascular Necrosis continued...

The best treatment will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Your age
  • Stage of the disease
  • Location and amount of bone damage
  • Cause of AVN

If the cause of your avascular necrosis is identified, treatment will include efforts to manage the underlying condition. For example, if AVN is caused by blood clots, your doctor will prescribe medications to dissolve clots. If inflammation of the arteries is responsible, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines.

If avascular necrosis is caught early, treatment may involve taking medications to relieve pain or limiting the use of the affected area. If your hip, knee, or ankle is affected, crutches may be necessary to take weight off the damaged joint. Your doctor may also recommend range-of-motion exercises to help keep the affected joint mobile.

While these nonsurgical treatments may slow the progression of avascular necrosis, most people with the condition eventually need surgery.

Surgical options include:

  • Bone grafts, which involve removing healthy bone from one part of the body and using it to replace the damaged bone.
  • Osteotomy, a procedure that involves cutting the bone and changing its alignment to relieve stress on the bone or joint.
  • Total joint replacement, which involves removing the damaged joint and replacing it with a synthetic joint.
  • Core decompression, a procedure that involves removing part of the inside of the bone to relieve pressure and allow new blood vessels to form.
  • Vascularized bone graft, a procedure that uses the patient's own tissue to rebuild diseased or damaged hip joints. The surgeon first removes the bone with the poor blood supply from the hip and then replaces it with the blood-vessel-rich bone from another site, such as the fibula, the smaller bone located in the lower leg.

 

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on August 13, 2012

Today on WebMD

Mature woman exercise at home
Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
feet with gout
Quiz yourself.
 
woman in pain
One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
senior couple walking
Can you keep your RA from progressing?
 
xray of knees with osteoarthritis
Slideshow
close up of man wearing dress shoes
Slideshow
 
feet with gout
Quiz
close up of red shoe in shoebox
Slideshow
 
salad
Video
two male hands
ARTICLE
 
Woman massaging her neck
Quiz
5 Lupus Risk Factors
Article