Features June 2012 Issue

‘Bone Death’: It May Sound Ominous, But Treatments Abound

Osteonecrosis is not uncommon, treatment options range from conservative to aggressive, and early diagnosis is essential.

Any condition that includes the term “bone death” in its definition is ominous, but it does not mean fatal. Osteonecrosis (also called avascular necrosis, or AVN) is a disorder in which there has been a decrease in the supply of blood to an area of bone, causing death of bone and bone marrow cells and ultimately the mechanical failure of the bone. AVN affects thousands of Americans each year, and most are treated successfully. Although any person can be affected, the condition is three times more common among women than in men and is most prevalent in people over the age of 60.

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