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Avascular Necrosis Medication

  • Author: Jeanne K Tofferi, MD, MPH, FACP; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
 
Updated: Jun 16, 2016
 
 

Medication Summary

No pharmaceutical treatment prevents progression of avascular necrosis (AVN). Analgesics are needed for pain relief.

 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Jeanne K Tofferi, MD, MPH, FACP Assistant Chief, Department of Rheumatology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Jeanne K Tofferi, MD, MPH, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Lawrence H Brent, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University; Chair, Program Director, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Albert Einstein Medical Center

Lawrence H Brent, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Immunologists, American College of Physicians, American College of Rheumatology

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Janssen<br/>Serve(d) as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for: Abbvie; Genentech; Pfizer; Questcor.

Chief Editor

Herbert S Diamond, MD Visiting Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center; Chairman Emeritus, Department of Internal Medicine, Western Pennsylvania Hospital

Herbert S Diamond, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians, American College of Rheumatology, American Medical Association, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Bryan L Martin, DO Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, Designated Institutional Official, Associate Medical Director, Director, Allergy Immunology Program, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Ohio State University College of Medicine

Bryan L Martin, DO is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, American College of Osteopathic Internists, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

William Gilliland, MD, MPHE, FACP, FACR Staff Rheumatologist, Walter Reed Army Medical Center; Professor of Medicine, Assistant Dean of Curriculum, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Avascular necrosis in the femoral head resulting from corticosteroid therapy.
Avascular necrosis of the shoulder showing subchondral radiolucent lines (crescent sign).
Avascular necrosis of both femoral heads. This T1-weighted image shows decreased signal intensity in both femoral heads.
MRI of the distal femur and proximal tibia. This T2-weighted image shows increased signal intensity in the marrow.
Table. Staging of Avascular Necrosis
StageClinical and Laboratory Findings
Stage 0
  • Patient is asymptomatic.
  • Radiography findings are normal.
  • Histology findings demonstrate osteonecrosis.
Stage I
  • Patient may or may not be symptomatic.
  • Radiography and CT scan findings are unremarkable.
  • AVN is considered likely based on MRI and bone scan results (may be subclassified by extent of involvement [see below]).
  • Histology findings are abnormal.
Stage II
  • Patient is symptomatic.
  • Plain radiography findings are abnormal and include osteopenia, osteosclerosis, or cysts.
  • Subchondral radiolucency is absent.
  • MRI findings are diagnostic.
Stage III
  • Patient is symptomatic.
  • Radiographic findings include subchondral lucency (crescent sign) and subchondral collapse.
  • Shape of the femoral head is generally preserved on radiographs and CT scans.
  • Subclassification depends on the extent of crescent, as follows:
    • Stage IIIa: Crescent is less than 15% of the articular surface.
    • Stage IIIb: Crescent is 15-30% of the articular surface.
    • Stage IIIc: Crescent is more than 30% of the articular surface.
Stage IV
  • Flattening or collapse of femoral head is present.
  • Joint space may be irregular.
  • CT scanning is more sensitive than radiography.
  • Subclassification depends on the extent of collapsed surface, as follows:
    • Stage IVa: Less than 15% of surface is collapsed.
    • Stage IVb: Approximately 15-30% of surface is collapsed.
    • Stage IVc: More than 30% of surface is collapsed.
Stage V
  • Radiography findings include narrowing of the joint space, osteoarthritis with sclerosis of acetabulum, and marginal osteophytes.
Stage VI
  • Findings include extensive destruction of the femoral head and joint.
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