Osteonecrosis, also known as avascular osteonecrosis is a condition in which the bone tissues die, as a result of a stoppage or impairment of the blood supply. This disease doesn’t present with any signs and symptoms initially, however, patients begin to present with complains gradually. This condition can deteriorate to bone collapse if not well managed. This disease mostly happens at the hip. Although it also occurs in other parts of the body such as the shoulders, knees, ankles and so on. There are some factors that predispose people to develop osteonecrosis. Some of the conditions include fractures of bone, joint dislocations, excessive consumption of alcohol, frequent use of steroid drugs and so on. There are also cases where this disease just happens, even without the presence of any predisposing factor. Physicians do diagnose this disease by first, taking the medical and personal history of the patient. If the doctor notices that there might be a chance the patient has osteonecrosis, further evaluations are done. Some of the evaluations include medical imaging. This includes X-ray, CT SCAN, MRI and so on. A bone biopsy might be done in rare cases. The good news is that this disease can be treated if diagnosed on time. Some of the treatment procedures include medications, physiotherapy, and surgery. Patients are encouraged to stretch often but are told not to walk in the affected limb. Surgical procedures may involve processes such as decompression, osteotomy, bone grafts, or replacement of the joint. According to statistics, it has been noted that females are more affected than males. Physicians buy stem cells online for the treatment of this disease.
What Are The Symptoms Of Avascular Necrosis?
Patients affected by osteonecrosis usually presents with no symptoms initially, however, the signs and symptoms might start presenting gradually. Patients do experience pain as the disease progresses. Patients might not feel the pain initially until some pressure is exerted on the affected bone. Subsequently, the pain would become more intense and obvious, even without having to put any pressure on the affected part. The bone might collapse if the disease is left untreated for a long time. In addition, the duration between the initial symptoms and the collapse of the bone differs. This could range from some few months to more than a year. Any bone of the body can be affected, however, the disease mostly affect parts of the body such as the shoulder, knee and the hip. The majority of the cases do affect multiple parts of the body at the same time. Although the most commonly affected part of the body is the end of the femur.
What Are The Causes Of Avascular Necrosis?
Avascular necrosis affects people between the ages of 20 and 50. Osteonecrosis is predominantly secondary to an already existing disease. Below are some of the causes of avascular necrosis;
- Bone fracture/dislocation: Osteonecrosis occurs as a result of a bone fracture or a bone deformity. These bone injuries can cut off or interrupt the blood supply to the bones, which would lead to ischemia of the bones, and subsequently bone necrosis.
- Prolonged use of corticosteroids: The prolonged use of corticosteroids, especially in the treatment of chronic diseases have been linked with the development of avascular necrosis. It has been suggested that corticosteroids do affect the way the body metabolizes fatty foods. These fatty materials tend to deposit and accumulate in the blood vessels, which makes them narrower, therefore reducing the amount of blood that eventually gets to the bone.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol: Excessive consumption of alcohol also tends to cause the build-up of fatty materials in the blood vessels. This eventually constricts the vessels, decreasing the amount of blood that gets to the bones.
- Other diseases: There are some other diseases that are associated with the interruption of blood supply to the bones. Some of them include the following
- Gaucher’s disease: This is a metabolic disease that causes the accumulation of fatty substances in the organs. This disease is usually passed down from parents to their offspring.
- Sickle cell disease: This is blood disorder in which patients do have an abnormal hemoglobin.
- Autoimmune diseases: These are diseases in which the immune system of the body fails to recognize the body tissues. This leads the immune system to attack the tissues, causing different degrees of injuries and damage. Some of these diseases might lead to the interruption of the supply of blood to the bones.
- Medications: There are some drugs that predispose patients to osteonecrosis. Examples of these drugs are the ones used in the treatment of cancer. This includes radiation and chemotherapy drugs
- HIV infection
- Inflammation of the pancreas.
How Is Osteonecrosis Diagnosed?
Physicians do diagnose this disease by first, taking the medical and personal history of the patient. If the doctor notices that there might be a chance the patient has osteonecrosis, further evaluations are done. Some of the evaluations include medical imaging. This includes X-ray, CT SCAN, MRI and so on. A bone biopsy might be done in rare cases. The X-ray of the disease usually appears normal initially, however, it looks more radio-opaque. Patients will present with a radiolucent area, as a result of the collapse of the subchondral bone. This is because of the saponification, and calcification of the fat materials in the bone marrow.
How Is Avascular Necrosis Treated?
There are different methods used for the treatment of avascular necrosis. The most commonly used treatment method is a total hip replacement. However, a total hip replacement has some downsides. Some of them include long recovery periods and short life spans of the joint. Another method used in the treatment of avascular necrosis is core decompression. This is a method where the internal bone pressure is reduced by making a hole in the bone. A living bone chip and an electrical device that can induce new growth of vessels are implanted in the bone. The progression of the disease can be interrupted by transplanting nucleated cells from bone marrow into avascular necrosis lesions after core decompression.
Osteonecrosis And Stem Cell Therapy
Scientists are working on ways to start using autologous bone marrow stem cells for the treatment of osteonecrosis. This procedure involves a minimally invasive decompression procedure. This treatment is suitable for patients at the early stage of avascular necrosis.
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